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Arizona State Highway Right-of-Way (3-AZ-c)

In Arizona, it is illegal for any person or entity to encroach on a state highway right-of-way without obtaining an encroachment permit. AAC R17-3-502(A). The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) administers encroachment permits pursuant to AAC R17-3-500 Highway Encroachments and Permits. Encroachment is defined as, “any use of, intrusion upon, or construction of improvement within a state highway right-of-way by any person or entity other than the Department (ADOT) for any purpose, temporary or fixed, other than public travel authorized by state statute.” AAC R17-3-501.

For purposes of transmission development, the potentially relevant activities that require encroachment permits in Arizona include:

  • Access improvements to abutting properties;
  • Utility construction and maintenance;
  • Removing or improving an existing encroachment; and
  • Change in the principal activity or function of an abutting property where an access or utility encroachment has been constructed.

AAC R17-3-502(B). For encroachments involving access, only an abutting property owner is eligible to apply for a permit. AAC R17-3-503(B)(1). For utility installations, only an ultimate owner who will be responsible for maintenance and liability of the utility after it is put into service is eligible to apply. However, a contractor may apply if the contractor provides evidence that an ultimate owner has approved plans and agrees to obtain an encroachment permit as a new owner upon completion of the utility installation. AAC R17-3-503(B)(3).

For additional information, consult the ADOT Policy for Accommodating Utilities on Highway Rights-Of-Way.

State Highway Right-of-Way Process

3-AZ-c.1 – Application for Encroachment Permit; Traffic Control Plan (if applicable)

In order to conduct project activities that encroach on state highway rights-of-way, a developer must submit an ADOT Highway Encroachment Permit Application to the District Office presiding over the proposed encroachment location. Applications must minimally contain the following information:

  • Name, address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, and signature of proposed encroachment owner;
  • Name, address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, and signature of applicant, if different from proposed encroachment owner;
  • Applicant’s legal relationship to proposed encroachment owner;
  • City nearest to the proposed encroachment;
  • Location of proposed encroachment from the nearest milepost (in feet), including state highway route number, side of highway, and engineering stationing (if applicable); and
  • Purpose of proposed encroachment, as listed in R17-3-502(B), and a description of the proposed work or activity in the right-of-way.

AAC R17-3-504(B)(1-6) By signing an application, the developer agrees to accept the general obligations and responsibilities listed in AAC R17-3-504(C)(1-14). In addition, developers may need to provide the ADOT with supporting documentation. AAC R17-3-505. Supporting documentation may include a traffic control plan. ADOT Policy for Accommodating Utilities on Highway Rights-Of-Way, 1.12.2. For more information, consult the ADOT Encroachment Application Instructions.

3-AZ-c.2 to 3-AZ-c.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

Upon receipt of an application, the ADOT reviews applications for administrative completeness. Within 30 days, the ADOT will issue a written notice of administrative completeness or deficiencies. ARS 41-1074 and AAC R17-1-102 Table B.

3-AZ-c.4 – Does the ADOT Approve the Application?

The ADOT will make a decision on the application based solely on the documents and information contained in the application and any requested supplemental information. AAC R17-3-507(B). The ADOT will approve the application if:

  • The proposed encroachment use is lawful;
  • The developer provides complete and accurate information;
  • The proposed encroachment qualifies under AAC R17-3-502(B); and
  • The developer agrees to comply with the ADOT’s requirements as set out in the permit.

AAC R17-3-507(C). Otherwise, the ADOT will deny the permit.

3-AZ-c.5 – Encroachment Permit

The ADOT will issue an Encroachment Permit that includes the materials submitted by the developer and additional requirements proscribed by the ADOT in order to:

  • Maintain the integrity of the ADOT’s right-of-way and transportation facilities;
  • Mitigate the risk to traffic safety;
  • Improve traffic movement, efficiency, and capacity;
  • Mitigate adverse drainage on state property or abutting property affecting state property;
  • Mitigate environmental impacts;
  • Mitigate maintenance costs to transportation facilities;
  • Mitigate potential liability for the ADOT or the state; and
  • Mitigate potential harms to national or state security.

AAC R17-3-507(C).

3-AZ-c.6 to 3-AZ-c.8 – Permit Denial

If the ADOT denies the permit, the ADOT will issue a written notice to the developer that contains the following information:

  • Justification for the denial with references to the statutes or rules on which the denial is based; and
  • An explanation of the developer’s right to appeal the denial. The explanation will include the number of days in which the developer must file a protest challenging the denial and the name and telephone number of an agency contact person who can answer questions regarding the appeals process.

ARS 41-1076 If the developer does not choose to appeal, the process ends. If the developer does choose to appeal, the appeal must be timely and comply with the requirements stated in the ADOT’s written permit denial.

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