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Arkansas State Highway Right-of-Way: Regular/AHTD Utility Permit (3-AR-e)

Information current as of 2020
In Arkansas, a developer may need to obtain a State Highway Right-of-Way Regular/AHTD 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). AHTD Utility Permits allow utilities to “install, relocate, maintain or remove” facilities on state highway property. Utility Accommodation Policy (UAP), p. 29. Work that is not addressed in a District Utility Permit will be considered under an AHTD Permit. UAP, p. 31.

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.” UAP, p. 30.

The 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.” UAP, p. 1.

State Highway Right-of-Way: Regular/AHTD Utility Permit Process

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

If a developer will conduct activities that a District Utility Permit cannot cover, the AHTD will consider those activities under an AHTD Utility Permit. UAP p. 31.

A developer may decide to apply for a District Utility Permit if a District Utility Permit covers the developer’s activities. For more information, see:

State Highway Right-of-Way: District Utility Permit

3-AR-e.3 to 3-AR-e.4 – State Highway Right-of-Way AHTD Utility Permit Application

A developer must submit a complete State Highway Right-of-Way AHTD Utility Permit Application (Application) to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (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:

  • 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, pp. 29-30.

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

AHTD must review the Application for administrative and technical completeness.

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

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

If the utility maintains a standing bond, proceed to 3.8.

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

The District Engineer is responsible for determining 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. A developer must commit to posting a bond or deposit before AHTD can 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-e.8 –Post Standing Bond/Required Deposit

In order for AHTD to issue a Permit, the 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-e.9 to 3-AR-e.10 – Assess Application for Interference with Existing or Planned Highway Facilities or Maintenance Activities

AHTD District Engineers are responsible for reviewing and approving District Utility Permits. 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. UAP, p. 30-31.

3-AR-e.11 to 3-AR-e.12– Submit Permit Application to AHTD Utilities Section for Review and Approval

If the District Engineer determines that the activities will not interfere with existing activities and facilities, the District Engineer will submit the Application to the AHTD Utilities Section for review and approval. The AHTD Utilities Section reviews the permit application to ensure that it is consistent with the UAP.

3-AR-e.13 – 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 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).

3-AR-e.14 – AHTD Utility Permit

The District Engineer issues an AHTD Utility Permit. The AHTD permit remains valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issue. UAP, p. 30-31. Once AHTD issues the Permit, the developer can commence or continue construction or perform any other specified activities subject to the terms and conditions of the Permit.

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Contact Information

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