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Political Signs: If They’re Not in the Right Place, You Could Get Into Some Trouble

JACKSON, Miss.–If you’re a politician, you probably spent some serious dough on signs to help get you elected. The Miss. Dept. of Transportation is reminding you that it’s illegal to put them on state rights of way and they’re also not happy with having to spend some of their litter clean-up budget on the signs.

From an MDOT news release:

It’s nearly impossible to ignore an election year as political signs begin to inhabit every corner, yard and store window throughout Mississippi. However, what shouldn’t be ignored is the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) reminder that placing campaign signs on state right-of-way is illegal and contributes to MDOT’s $3.2 million a year battle with litter.

While rules regarding campaign signs vary in different cities and counties, MDOT is responsible for upholding federal standards, which state that signs or structures that occupy the highway or interstate right-of-way must be removed. MDOT recommends that candidates research local, state and federal laws before placing their signage.

In order to maintain traffic safety, the following rules govern the placement of signs.

  • It is illegal to place signs within the right-of-way on state highways and interstates. The width of right-of-way areas varies by location and include the driving lanes, shoulders, mowed areas and potentially may reach distances of 300 feet or more from the centerline of driving lanes.
  • Keeping the right-of-way clear prevents safety hazards and interference withthe traveling public along roadways.
  • Signs with steel or wooden posts pose potential hazards which may cause harm to roadside workers, damage to roadside equipment and become projectiles if hit by mowers.
  • Signs are not permitted within areas used for clear vision at intersections so they will not interfere with the sight distance of a driver. No signs are allowed in limited access right-of-way. Typically, the right-of-way is larger near roadway intersections.

Any illegally placed signs will be removed. Signs removed by MDOT crews will be kept for two weeks at a local MDOT maintenance facility, and then discarded. Candidates may retrieve signs from MDOT without penalty.

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