Highway Rights-of-Way in Alaska

Not all right-of-way (ROW) interests are defined by deed with an accurate description. Alaska still lacks good titles and plans for many of our major highways and so it becomes necessary to be able to research and analyze title to determine the nature and width of the ROW. The Highway Rights-of-Way in Alaska paper discusses the history and effect of the many authorities that make up Alaska highway ROW. The intent is to provide land professionals with an understanding of the processes by which many of the highway ROWs in Alaska were established, as well as some guidelines and sources of information that can be used to determine whether a particular property is impacted. Whether a client is hoping to prove a ROW exists or that it doesn’t, the practical application of these principles will be the same.

This paper was initially prepared in 1993 when John Bennett, PLS, SR/WA was the ROW Engineering Supervisor for DOT&PF Northern Region. It has since been updated, expanded and presented at several international Right of Way Association (IRWA) sponsored seminars titled: Access Law and Issues Affecting Public and Private Lands in Alaska. Also included are the PowerPoint presentations for ANCSA 17b Easements, PLO Case Studies and Section Line Easement Case Studies.

As an R&M employee, John presented this paper at a full-day Anchorage seminar in 2016, along with co-presenter Dan Beardsley. This paper was incorporated into the 2013 edition of the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ASPLS) Standards of Practice Manual and can also be found at the ASPLS website.

Read the entire paper here.

PowerPoint Slides
2016 ANCSA 17b Easements Slides
2016 PLO Case Studies Slides
2016 SLE Case Studies Slides

John is a Senior Land Surveyor in R&M’s Right-of-Way Services Group, working out of our Fairbanks office. Prior to joining R&M, he served as the Chief of Right-of-Way for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Northern Region, supervising titles, plans, utilities, appraisals, negotiations, relocations, property management, pre-audit and surveying activities for the aviation, highway and public facility programs. John is a recognized leader in the research and analysis of historic rights of way and has testified as an expert witness in title defense cases. He is also a certified instructor with the International Right of Way Association and has co-presented seminars relating to access law and highway rights of way in Alaska.