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Arkansas State Highway Right-of-Way Overview (3-AR-c)

In Arkansas, a developer may need to obtain a State Highway Right-of-Way Permit from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) when a project encroaches “within the right-of-way of state highways.” Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(a). The Arkansas State Highway Commission sets rules and regulations under which the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) issues permits. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department – Utility Accommodation Policy Document (UAP), p. 1. AHTD issues two types of State Highway Right-of-Way Permits (i.e., District Utility Permits and AHTD Utility Permits) that allow utilities to “install, relocate, maintain or remove” facilities on state highway property. UAP, p. 29.


State Highway Right-of-Way Overview Process

3-AR-c.1 to 3-AR-c.2 – Does the Project Encroach Upon an Existing Highway Right-of-Way?

A developer must obtain a State Highway Right-of-Way Permit from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department for projects that encroach, or require installations or other structures within an Arkansas state highway right-of-way. Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(a).

Under Arkansas law, “[t]he rights-of-way provided for all state highways shall be held inviolate for state highway purposes.” Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(a). Installations and encroachments of any kind with the exception of traffic signs or signals are prohibited within the right-of way limits of state highways without a District or AHTD Utility Permit. Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(a).

3-AR-c.3 to 3-AR-c.5 – Does Applicant Seek a District or AHTD Utility Permit?

State law allows public utilities, along with political subdivisions, rural electric cooperatives, rural telephone cooperatives, and private television cables, to use the right-of-way or land of the State Highway Commission “for the purpose of laying or erecting pipelines, sewers, wires, poles, ditches, railways, or any other purpose, under existing agreements or permits…provided that such use does not interfere with the public use of the property for highway purposes.” Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(b).

District Utility Permit

A District Utility Permit may allow the following activities:

  • Buried highway crossings;
  • Aerial crossings of non-interstate highways;
  • Buried or aerial longitudinal installations up to one-quarter mile on non-interstate highways;
  • Spot repairs of utility facilities, including emergency repairs. Emergency situations may include pavement cuts; and
  • Minor work, including pole replacements, pedestal installations meter taps not requiring pavement cuts, routine maintenance, etc.

AHTD District Engineers review plans to ensure that the proposed utility facilities do not interfere with any existing or planned highway facilities or maintenance activities. AHTD District Engineers are responsible for reviewing and approving District Utility Permits.

A District Utility Permit is valid for a period of four months from the date of issue. UAP, pp. 30-31. For more information, see:

State Highway Right-of-Way: District Utility Permit
3-AR-d

AHTD Utility Permit

Work that is not addressed in a District Utility Permit will be considered under an AHTD Permit. AHTD District Engineers review plans to ensure that the proposed utility facilities do not interfere with any existing or planned highway facilities or maintenance activities. Upon review, the District Engineer then submits the Permit Application to the Utilities Section of the AHTD for further review and approval.

An AHTD Utility Permit is valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issue. UAP, p. 31. For more information, see:

State Highway Right-of-Way: AHTD Utility Permit
3-AR-e


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Right of Way Utilities Section Head (501) 569-2321 Visit Website