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Arkansas State Highway District Utility Permit (3-AR-d)

Information current as of 2020
In Arkansas, a developer may need a State Highway Right-of-Way District Utility Permit (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). District Utility Permits allow utilities to “install, relocate, maintain or remove” facilities on state highway property. Utility Accommodation Policy (UAP), p. 29.

Permits are binding contracts between AHTD and the developer. Unsigned or oral representations are not valid unless there is an emergency or an “extreme hardship situation.” Utility Accommodation Policy (UAP), p. 30.

The Utility Accommodation Policy (UAP) prescribes how AHTD will accommodate public and private utilities within existing highway right of ways. The UAP applies “to the owners and operators of utility facilities, including but not limited to electric power, water, sewer, gas, communications, chemical, oil, petroleum products, steam, stormwater not connected with highway drainage, irrigation, and similar facilities.” Utility Accommodation Policy (UAP), p. 1.

State Highway District Utility Permit Process

Flowchart Narrative

3-AR-d.1 to 3-AR-d.2 – Does the District Utility Permit Cover the Developer’s Activities?

A utility may need a State Highway Right-of-Way District Utility Permit from AHTD for 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 which may include pavement cuts; and
  • Minor work, including pole replacements, pedestal installations meter taps not requiring pavement cuts, and routine maintenance.

UAP, p. 30-31. If a District Utility Permit does not cover a developer’s activities, AHTD will consider the activity under an AHTD Permit. For more information about AHTD Permits, see: State Highway Right-of-Way: AHTD Utility Permit

3-AR-d.3 – State Highway Right-of-Way District Utility Permit Application

A developer must submit a complete State Highway Right-of-Way District Utility Permit Application (Application) to the AHTD for projects that encroach, require installations or other structures within an Arkansas state highway right-of-way. Ark. Code Ann. §27-67-304(a). The Application must include, at minimum:

  • Two (2) sets of plans with crossing profiles when applicable. These plans can be submitted electronically as a PDF file if the District Engineer agrees to receive them electronically;
  • Type and description of the facility;
  • Location with reference to the centerline station from AHTD plans or other well-known permanent landmarks;
  • The measured distance from the right-of-way line, the centerline, ditch lines, toe of slopes, and the edge the highway pavement; and
  • A traffic control plan.

UAP, p. 29-30.

3-AR-d.4 to 3-AR-d.5 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

AHTD must review the Application for administrative and technical completeness.

3-AR-d.6 – Did the Utility Post a Standing Bond in the Amount Prescribed by AHTD?

AHTD recommends that utility owners maintain a standing bond. The amount of the standing bond depends on the number of customers the utility serves in Arkansas. The state uses the standing bond to restore a “highway right of way or property to its former condition if the utility owner fails to do so.” UAP, pp. 34-35. Utility standing bond amounts are provided for in the UAP .

Number of Arkansas Customers --- Standing bond required

  • Over 250,000 --- $250,000
  • 100,000 to 249,999 --- $100,000
  • 50,000 to 99,999 --- $50,000
  • 10,000 to 49,999 --- $25,000
  • Under 10,000 --- $10,000

UAP, p. 34-35. If the utility maintains a standing bond, proceed to 3.8.

3-AR-d.7 – Determine Amount of Bond or Deposit Guarantee

The District Engineer is responsible for determining the amount of the bond or deposit required in the absence of a standing bond. If the applicant (developer) does not maintain a standing bond as described in the Utility Accommodation Policy, an “individual deposit or bond” must guarantee restoration in the event the utility fails to do so. The applicant (developer) must commit to posting a bond or deposit before AHTD may issue a permit. UAP, p. 35.

Additional information about standing bonds and guarantees are available on the AHTD’s AHTD Permit Bond Website and Bond Forms.

3-AR-d.8 –Post Standing Bond/Required Deposit

In order for AHTD to issue a Permit, the applicant (developer) must post a standing bond or a required deposit in order to ensure that the right-of-way is restored to its original condition. UAP, p. 35.

3-AR-d.9 to 3-AR-d.10 – Assess Application for Approval

AHTD District Engineers must assess the Application for approval. AHTD District Engineers review the Application and applicable plans to ensure that the proposed utility facilities do not interfere with any existing or planned highway facilities or maintenance activities. UAP, pp. 30-31.

3-AR-d.11 – District Utility Permit

The District Engineer issues a District Utility Permit, which remains valid for a period of four (4) months from the date of issue. UAP, pp. 30-31. Upon issuance of the Permit, the developer can commence or continue construction or perform other specified activities subject to the terms and conditions of the Permit.

3-AR-d.12 – Appeal Decision (Optional)

If the Application is not approved, the applicant (developer) may choose to appeal the decision under the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act. The applicant (developer) may file Petition to Appeal the Commissioner or the Game and Fish Commission’s decision to the circuit court of any county “in which the petitioner resides or does business; or Pulaski County Circuit Court” within thirty (30) days after receiving final notice of the decision. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 25-15-212(b)(1)(A)-(B).

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Contact Information

Edit Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department
Right of Way Utilities Section Head (501) 569-2321 Visit Website