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Alaska State Highway Right-of-Way Overview (3-AK-c)

In Alaska, a developer may need to obtain a State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Encroachment Permit (Encroachment Permit) from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) prior to constructing, maintaining, or changing an encroachment within a DOT&PF highway right-of-way (ROW), unless otherwise provided for by agency regulations. 17 AAC § 10.010; Alaska Stat. § 19.25.200(a). The developer must be the owner or a lessee of the land contiguous to the highway right-of-way where the developer’s primary activity will occur. 17 AAC § 10.011(c). Encroachments on DOT&PF ROW’s are regulated and permitted by the DOT&PF pursuant to 17 AAC § 10 and under the authority of Alaska Stat. § 19.05.010-19.05.040.

State Highway Right-of-Way Overview Process

3-AK-c.1 to 3-AK-c.2 - Will the Developer Construct a Driveway or Approach Road Which Will Encroach upon a DOT&PF ROW?

If the developer will construct a driveway or approach road which will encroach upon a DOT&PF ROW, the developer must apply to the DOT&PF for a ADOT&PF Permit to Construct and Maintain a Driveway or Approach Road on a Highway Right-of-Way (Approach Road Permit) under the process outlined in 17 AAC 10.020-10.095. For a description of the Approach Road Permit authorization process, see:

Driveway and Approach Road Permit for DOT&PF ROW:

3-AK-c.3 – Will the Developer Construct or Perform Maintenance Work upon a Utility within an DOT&PF ROW?

Before constructing or performing maintenance work upon a utility within a DOT&PF ROW, a developer must apply for a State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities - Utility Permit in accordance with 17 AAC § 15.011 et. seq.. Encroachment Permits issued under 17 AAC § 10 do not grant authorization for construction or maintenance of a utility within a DOT&PF ROW. For all other non-utility construction activities, a developer must pursue authorization under an Encroachment Permit via the process described in 17 AAC § 10, and outlined below. 17 AAC § 10.011.

3-AK-c.4 - Initiate Utility Encroachment Permit Process

A Utility Encroachment Permit authorizes activities reasonably required for the construction, maintenance, or operation of utility facilities that encroach upon a DOT&PF highway ROW. 17 AAC § 15.011(b). For a description of the Utility Encroachment Permit authorization process, see:

Utility Permit to Construct on ADOT&PF ROW:

3-AK-c.5 - Will the Encroachment Be in the Form of a Permanent Structure?

A developer may not obtain an Encroachment Permit for any permanent structure located partially or completely on a highway right-of-way. For more information on what constitutes a permanent structure, see 17 AAC § 10.011(c)(1). However, the DOT&PF may issue an Encroachment Permit for an existing structure, for a portion of that structure, or for existing water or sewer facilities for which the DOT&PF has not issued a utility permit under 17 AAC § 15.011 if:

  • (1) the encroachment does not present a risk to the health or safety of the public;
  • (2) the construction of the encroachment occurred in good faith; and
  • (3) the denial of the permit would create a hardship for the owner of the encroachment.

17 AAC § 10.011(h).

3-AK-c.6 - Request for Encroachment Permit

To submit a request for an Encroachment Permit, the developer must complete and submit the following items and information: 1) A complete State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities - Application/Renewal for Encroachment Permit (Application), including the required processing fee shown on the application form. Application.

2) A detailed site plan, including the following information:

  • The business location, parking, access into the business, and location of the building where business is conducted.
  • How far each proposed or existing improvement will be located from the edge of traveled way.
  • The existing major attributes of the area such as vegetation, utilities, bike-paths, road advisory signs, etc.
  • Locations and names of all roads as well as locations of other pertinent landmarks.

Application, at 3; 17 AAC § 10.011(b).

NOTE: If the Regional Chief ROW Agent believes it is necessary, the DOT&PF may require the applicant to furnish drawings stamped by a professional engineer registered in Alaska. Application, at 3.

3) ‘”Required Photographs of the Site’” The Developer must submit a minimum of three photographs showing the location of each proposed or existing improvement. Photos should show a view of the main highway turn-off to the business, as well as the slope of the turnoff location. Photos are typically taken from a distance of 100 feet in each direction, and one photo is taken from the centerline of the highway toward the proposed or existing improvement’s location). The developer must mark an arrow on the photo depicting the turn-off and indicating the location of each proposed or existing improvement. The photos will be used in determining if additional slope limit information is required to determine the “clear zone”. The “clear zone” is the total roadside border area, starting at the edge of the traveled way that should be maintained free and clear of any obstructions to the traveling public. The desired width of the clear zone is dependent upon the traffic volumes, speeds and the roadside geometry.

Application, at 3.

In addition, the developer must also complete the following requirements:

1) ‘”Pay Required Compensation Fees’” The developer must pay economic rent of an amount determined by the DOT&PF, or a $100 annual fee for the use of the land, whichever amount is greater. For rights-of-way held in fee simple, the DOT&PF will employ commonly accepted real estate appraisal techniques to determine the economic rent. For rights-of-way held as easements, the developer must pay 90 percent of the determined economic rent. The developer is responsible for costs incurred for hiring a state-certified appraiser as a part of this process.

Application, at 3; 17 AAC § 10.013.

2) “Provide for Public Notice (If Required)

If the DOT&PF determines that it is in the best interest of the State to require public notice of the encroachment the developer must pay for public notice of the project. The DOT&PF has the discretion to require notice if the issuance of the permit may be controversial, or if public notice would be beneficial to the adjudication process. Application, at 3.

3-AK-c.7 - Review Request for Encroachment Permit

Upon receipt of application materials, the DOT&PF will review the materials and decide whether to approve the application and issue the Encroachment Permit. 17 AAC § 10.011(b); 17 AAC § 10.012.

3-AK-c.8 - Was the Application Approved?

The DOT&PF will, in its discretion, grant an encroachment permit under if it determines that:

  • The integrity and safety of the highway is not compromised;
  • The issuance of the permit will not cause a break in access control for the highway;
  • The land will not be necessary for a highway construction project during the initial term of the permit; and
  • Issuing the permit is in the best interest of the state.

17 AAC § 10.012.

3-AK-c.9 - Letter of Explanation

If the application is not approved, the DOT&PF will send the developer a letter of explanation.

3-AK-c.10 - Encroachment Permit

After approving the application, the ADOT&PF issues the Encroachment Permit. The encroachment permit is valid for a term of no more than five years, though the department may approve requests for permit renewals for additional subsequent terms of no more than five years each. 17 AAC § 10.011(b)). The department may impose any additional conditions upon encroachment permits necessary to protect members of the public traveling on the road, to protect the safety and integrity of a highway's design, and to ensure protection of the public interest and the state’s best interests. 17 AAC § 10.014. The department may revoke an encroachment permit before the end of its term after issuing notice to the developer at least 30 days before the date of revocation. In such cases, the developer is not entitled to payment of just compensation or relocation benefits. 17 AAC § 10.011(b)).

3-AK-c.11 - Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

If the DOT&PF denies the developer’s request for an Encroachment Permit, or if the developer is dissatisfied with any conditions attached to the Encroachment Permit as issued, the developer may appeal the decision by following the process and requirements outlined under 17 AAC § 85.010-85.990. 17 AAC § 10.950. To initiate the appeals process, the developer must submit a notice of the appeal to the director of the regional DOT&PF office where the decision was made within 30 days after receiving notification of the department's decision. 17 AAC § 85.020.

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Contact Information

Edit Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Statewide Right-of-Way Chief 907-465-6954 heatherabbazabbafair@alaskaabbazabbagov