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Political signs unsafe and illegal along state highways

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Signs are not allowed in highway right of ways that can extend over 300 feet from the centerline of driving lanes. (Photo courtesy MDOT)

Every election cycle, drivers begin to see campaign signs sprout up along roadways throughout the state. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds candidates and supporters that it is illegal to place signs in the right of way of state highways.

A clear right of way helps maintain the safety of the traveling public and highway workers. Illegally placed signs could limit visibility. Signs with metal or wooden posts could cause injuries if a motorist leaves the roadway.

“Political signs should only be placed in legal areas, so the safety of motorists and roadside workers is not put in jeopardy,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “It is important to know the laws regarding campaign sign placement because it can become a problem before and after an election.”

The width of highway right of way varies by location and can extend over 300 feet from the centerline of driving lanes. The right of way is typically larger at intersections where longer sight lines are needed.

MDOT workers will remove any signs illegally placed in highway right of way. The signs will be kept for two weeks at a local MDOT maintenance facility before being discarded. Candidates can retrieve the signs from MDOT without any penalty.

Removal of illegal campaign signs during and after elections contributes to the $3 million annual cost to keep highways clear of litter.

“Litter removal costs taxpayers money and takes skilled highway workers away from other projects,” McGrath said. “If election litter can be deployed and disposed of correctly, the savings could be put toward maintaining our highway system.”

Candidates and supporters can contact their local MDOT maintenance office for more information about rights of way along particular stretches of highway. To review laws and regulations governing signs on state highways, see Section 63-3-317 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 Annotated.

 

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