alert image

The City of Bethlehem Community and Economic Development Permit Office will be closed Wednesday afternoons to walk-ins from 1 to 4:30pm. This temporary closure is due to the digitization of the permit files. Thank you for your patience and understanding.



The Engineering Bureau provides design, drafting, survey, and inspection services for numerous projects undertaken by the City. In addition, the Bureau reviews all subdivision and land development plans for compliance with City ordinances and Codes, and maintains permanent records of the City’s infrastructure. Activities include design and inspection of all streets, utilities, bridges, public improvements, and permitting. The following is a more detailed description of these activities:


This is a report prepared quarterly that provides updates on various capital projects for all departments in the City of Bethlehem. You can view the most recent report here:
Capital Projects Status Report


The process begins when a developer submits plans for subdivision or development. The plans are reviewed for compliance with applicable City ordinances, standards, and good engineering practices. Comments are made and the plans are revised. Once the plans are acceptable, the Planning Commission meets and approves the plans if appropriate. Next, we review shop drawings and cut-sheets for public improvements and prepare a cost estimate for the required financial security that the developer must post to ensure improvements are completed in accordance with the approved plan. City inspectors provide oversight of all activities within or affecting the Right-of-Way. As the project is completed, the improvements are inspected and financial security is released. As-built drawings are reviewed and filed at the completion.


The Engineering Bureau designs and implements numerous infrastructure projects each year including sanitary, storm, water and street reconstruction. Also included are annual projects to repair/replace sidewalk, trenches and street overlays. Design begins with the survey fieldwork followed by detailed design and drafting. Then, detailed specifications and a cost estimate are prepared. Any permits required from outside agencies are applied for and obtained. The construction project is then bid and awarded to a contractor. The survey crew typically provides the layout and the work by the contractor is inspected. Invoices and change orders are reviewed and processed until the projects is complete. Once completed, an as-built drawing is prepared and filed.


The Engineering Bureau reviews and signs-off or issues permits for all activities within or affecting the public Right-of-Way. This includes numerous types of permits such as: Driveways, curb, sidewalk, excavation, sewer and water connections, sprinklers, ROW encroachments, banners, fences, pools, utilities (gas, electric, phone, cable), sheds, dumpsters, and buildings.


For some larger projects, the City engages a consultant to perform the design. The City’s Project Engineer manages the project, reviewing design plans, schedule, payment invoices, and change order requests. When design is complete, construction is typically bid, awarded and inspected by the City.


The Engineering Bureau provides the following service regarding the City’s Water System:
  • Design water main extensions and service laterals where required
  • Review land development plans
  • Review and issue permits for water connections, sprinkler systems, and building permits
  • Maintain the hydraulic model of the water system
  • Provide hydraulic support and calculations for the Fire Department
  • Design locations of fire hydrants in conjunction with the Fire department and maintain inventory
  • Provide engineering support, information, and assistance to the Water Department
  • Inspect the installation of water facilities in the City and all municipalities served by the City’s Water system and prepare as-built plans of same
  • Maintain base maps and as-built records for entire system.


In addition to the above, the Engineering Bureau also performs various other tasks, including the following:
  • Provide engineering assistance to all City departments
  • Implement and report on NPDES MS-4 stormwater program
  • Maintain sanitary sewer hydraulic model, track capacity allocation of City and contributing municipalities, and implement tapping fees
  • Review and coordinate on Penn DOT projects in the City including Route 412 Improvements
  • Investigate and respond to complaints by residents and enforce City’s ordinances.
  • Maintain, assign and update all addresses within the City of Bethlehem
The assignment of street names and address numbers by the Bureau of Engineering will adhere to the following standards and procedures: