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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Alaska Utility Permit to Construct on ADOT&PF ROW (3-AK-g)

In Alaska, a developer must obtain a Utility Permit to Construct on a DOT&PF Right-of-Way (Utility Encroachment Permit) from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF ) before constructing or installing utility facilities within DOT&PF right-of-way (ROW). Alaska Stat. § 19.25.010. A Utility Encroachment Permit authorizes activities reasonably required for the construction, maintenance, or operation of the utility facility described in an approved permit application. 17 AAC § 15.011(c).


Utility encroachments upon DOT&PF ROW’s are regulated and permitted by the DOT&PF pursuant to 17 AAC § 15 and under the authority of Alaska Stat. § 19.05.010-19.05.040. Utility permits establish the terms under which the developer may install, operate, and maintain their utility facilities. Utilities Manual, § 3.3. By regulating construction of utility facilities on DOT&PF ROWs, the DOT&PF aims to protect the safety of the travelling public and other users, protect the integrity of DOT&PF facilities, ensure normal operation and maintenance activities by the DOT&PF are not compromised, ensure new facilities will not impact the immediate or long term construction programs by the DOT&PF, provide for accurate and current records of utility ownership and locations, and ensure the needs of utility companies and developers are met. Utilities Manual, § 3.2.

For the definition of a “utility,” see 17 AAC § 15.901(54).


Utility Permit to Construct on ADOT&PF ROW Process

3-AK-g.1 - Will the Utility be Located on a State Section-Line ROW?

In Alaska, section lines are dedicated for use as public highways, forming the center line of a dedicated ROW. Alaska Stat. § 19.10.010. A developer seeking to install a utility facility within a section-line ROW must check with the DOT&PF to determine whether the DOT&PF currently uses the section-line ROW or has proposed a future use for the affected portion of the section-line ROW. 17 AAC § 15.031(a).

3-AK-g.2 to 3-AK-g.3 – Does the DOT&PF Have Current or Future Plans for Use of the State-Line ROW??

If the DOT&PF is not currently using the section-line ROW and has not proposed a future use for the portion affected by the proposed utility facility, no Utility Encroachment Permit is required. 17 AAC § 15.031(a). If the DOT&PF is currently using or has plans to use the affected portion of the section-line ROW in the future, the developer must apply for a Utility Encroachment Permit. 17 AAC § 15.031(a).

3-AK-g.4 - Will the Utility be Located within an DOT&PF ROW that Crosses a Navigable Water Way or Runs through Federal Land?

The developer must obtain additional written permission from federal agencies in the following circumstances before proceeding with the permitting process:

  • If the developer will construct a facility within a DOTF&ROW within a national forest, national park, military reservation, or other land of the federal government, the developer must obtain written approval from the appropriate controlling federal agency.
  • If the developer will construct a facility within a DOT&PF ROW which crosses navigable water the developer must obtain written approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • If the developer will construct a facility within a DOT&PF ROW which passes through restricted Native allotment land, the developer must obtain written approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • If the developer will construct a facility within a DOT&PF ROW which passes through Bureau of Land Management land, the developer must obtain written approval from the Bureau of Land Management.
  • If the developer will construct an overhead facility within a DOT&PF ROW located within two statute miles of any airport, airstrip, or private air facility, the developer must obtain written approval from the Federal Aviation Administration or, if the airport or airstrip is under military control, from the appropriate military command.

17 AAC § 15.021(f)-(k).

3-AK-g.5 to 3-AK-g.6 - Has the Utility Permit on State Land Undergone Proper Environmental Review?

The developer must ensure their utility project has completed the State of Alaska’s environmental review process prior to the allowance of any construction on a DOT&PF ROW. For a description of the state’s environmental review process, see:

State Environmental Review Process:
9-AK-a

3-AK-g.7 - Request Written Approval from the Relevant Federal Agency

Once the developer’s project has been approved under Alaska’s environmental review process, the developer must request written approval from the relevant federal agency, as required in 17 AAC § 15.021(f)-(k) and described above in element 3.1.

3-AK-g.8 - Written Approval

If the relevant federal agency is satisfied with the developer’s request for permission to construct a utility facility in a DOT&PF ROW located within federal land, it issues a written approval.

3-AK-g.9 to 3-AK-g.10 - Will the Utility be Located within a ROW that Crosses Water Specified in the List of Waters Important to Anadromous Fish?

If a developer plans to construct a utility facility within a DOT&PF ROW that crosses a river, lake, or stream specified in the List of Waters Important to Anadromous Fish incorporated in 5 AAC § 95.011, the developer must request written approval from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (ADF&G) 17 AAC § 15.021.

3-AK-g.11 - Written Approval

If the ADF&G is satisfied with the developer’s request for permission to construct a utility facility in a DOT&PF ROW that crosses a river, lake, or stream specified in the List of Waters Important to Anadromous Fish incorporated in 5 AAC § 95.011, the ADF&G issues a written approval. 17 AAC § 15.021.

3-AK-g.12 - Notify All Known Utilities in Immediate Vicinity

The developer must notify all known utilities in the immediate vicinity of the proposed construction of the utility facility. 17 AAC § 15.021(d).

3-AK-g.13 - Application for Utility Permit

A complete application for a Utility Encroachment Permit must contain the following:

For All Applications:

  • A completed Application Form 25D-261 or a Permit Amendment Aerial Form NR-7/00 (if construction work only involves non-substantial facility modifications).
  • Project plan sheets, specifications, and any other pertinent data.
  • A diagram or drawing showing the location of all known overhead, surface, and underground facilities existing in the vicinity of the proposed facility.
  • A detailed description of the type of facility and its proposed location.
  • A completed Pipe Carrier Facility Description Form 25D- 261A or Electrical and Communications Facilities Form 25D-261B, and/or a completed Structures Facility Description, Form 25D- 261C.

For Pipeline Installations:

  • A description of the nature of the substance to be transmitted; the maximum working, test, and design pressures; and the design standards for the pipe. If the developer anticipates that there will be a change in the nature of the substance that is transmitted, or an increase in maximum design pressure from that specified in the permit, the permittee shall obtain written department approval in advance for the change.

17 AAC § 15.021(b), (c), (e); Utilities Manual, § 3.8.

Note: For construction work involving substantial reconstructions or modifications of facilities, the developer must complete a form for a new permit. 17 AAC § 15.021(c). Additional regional forms and letters of non-objection may be required in some cases. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.

For Applications for Facilities Located on a Section-Line Rights of Way

  • Proof of the existence of the section-line-ROW.

17 AAC § 15.031.

3-AK-g.14 - Review Application Materials

Once the developer submits the application materials, the DOT&PF reviews materials. In analyzing whether to issue a permit, the department will consider the utility standards and requirements set out in 17 AAC § 15.131 - 17 AAC 15.301, as well as criteria outlined in Utilities Manual, § 3.8, to ensure the presence and accuracy of all required information as well as analyze possibilities of present and future impacts of the utility facility upon DOT&PF projects. The review process may also involve review by additional agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Tribal governments, and various Municipal Governments or Boroughs. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.4. Comments from the review process and special provisions may be incorporated into the permit, as appropriate. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.4.

3-AK-g.15 – Is the Application Complete?

The DOT&PF notifies the developer of any discrepancies, inconsistencies, errors, or other issues discovered during the review process and returns the materials to the developer for correction and re-submittal. Once all issues have been addressed, the permit is processed for signature and approval. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.6.

3-AK-g.16 – Was the Application Approved?

If the DOT&PF approves the developer’s request for a Utility Encroachment Permit, the DOT&PF will issue the permit and process the developer’s required fees. The DOT&PF will provide two copies of the utility permit to the developer for signature once all issues are resolved. The developer must sign the copies of the permit, have the signatures notarized, and return them to the DOT&PF for agency signature. Utilities Manual, § 3.9. If the DOT&PF does not approve the request for a Utility Encroachment Permit, it will return the application to the developer with a formal letter of explanation. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.6; 17 AAC § 15.021(l).

3-AK-g.17 - Letter of Explanation

If the developer’s application proposes installations not in accordance with DOT&PF requirements and policies, the DOT&PF will return the application to the developer along with a formal letter explaining the denial. Utilities Manual, § 3.8.6; 17 AAC § 15.021(l). If the DOT&PF denies an application for a section-line ROW, the DOT&PF will also immediately submit written notice to the Department of Natural Resources. 17 AAC § 15.031(e).

3-AK-g.18 – Pay Required Fees

1) The developer must pay a $600 non-refundable fee, in a form acceptable to the DOT&PF, for permits allowing the following:

  • Installation of aerial or underground distribution and transmission lines;
  • Construction of duct systems;
  • Construction of utilidors and utility tunnels, including crossings and extensions;
  • Structure or appurtenance construction, including installation/construction of manholes, utility poles, pedestals, switch cabinets, transformers, and other design features of a similar nature;
  • Crossing or installation activities, including service connections, requiring boring, trenching, or opening a roadway surface; and
  • Installation of aerial service lines requiring placing of poles in a right-of-way.

17 AAC § 15.041(a).

2) The developer must pay a $100 nonrefundable fee in a form acceptable to the department for permits, including permit amendments, allowing the following:

  • Installation of aerial service lines not requiring structures within the right-of-way, including service lines from longitudinal distribution lines outside a right-of-way and service lines attached to existing poles; and
  • Installation of underground service lines that do not occupy any portion of the roadway prism and connect to existing poles, pedestals, manholes, collection systems, distribution facilities and similar structures within the right-of-way.

17 AAC § 15.041(b).

3) For projects falling under the parameters of section “1)” which involve construction or installation of facilities of more than 200 feet in length, the developer must also pay an additional nonrefundable fee (not to exceed $10,000) of $1 per each foot of length in excess of 200 feet.

17 AAC § 15.041(c).

Note: The DOT&PF may require the developer to reimburse the DOT&PF for inspection costs if any special provisions of the utility permit require such an inspection. 17 AAC § 15.041(d).

3-AK-g.19 – Utility Encroachment Permit

If the DOT&PF approves the application, it grants the developer a Utility Encroachment Permit. The DOT&PF may attach special provisions to the permit if it considers them necessary to protect the public interest. 17 AAC § 15.011(a),(d). If the Utility Encroachment Permit is for a utility facility within a section-line ROW, the developer must coordinate the installation of the facility with any current or proposed DOT&PF projects in the affected section of the ROW and must provide a copy of the permit to the Department of Natural Resources. 17 AAC § 15.031(c)-(d).

A Utility Encroachment Permit expires if construction or installation of the facility does not begin within one year of approval, unless the developer obtains an extension of time in writing from the department. 17 AAC § 15.011(e).

3-AK-g.20 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

If the DOT&PF denies the developer’s request for a Utility 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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