Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds citizens that placing unauthorized signs and other objects on state highway rights of way can distract drivers, obstruct their vision and is illegal.
"With warm weather beginning, there is a significant increase in advertising signs and items for sale placed illegally along the states roadways to attract the attention of passing motorists," said Mark Renn, Mn/DOT's roadway regulations supervisor in St. Cloud.
Placing signs or objects in highway rights of way is a misdemeanor violation punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Highway rights of way include driving lanes, shoulders, ditches, clear zones and sight corners at intersections.
Mn/DOT crews will remove all signs within the right of way without notice.
Unauthorized signs appear in all shapes and sizes and run the gamut from real estate open houses to garage sales and various public and private events and activities. Larger objects that are often placed illegally in the right of way include automobiles, boats and motors, campers, travel trailers, produce and fireworks stands and large round hay bales. These objects are extremely hazardous if a vehicle runs off the road and strikes it, causing injury or death to the occupants as well as property damage.
They also catch debris, inhibit proper drainage, restrict mowing, spraying and other road maintenance activities.
For information regarding roadway regulations, right of way boundaries, or where to find removed materials, please contact the Mn/DOT office in St. Cloud at (320) 223-6522, toll-free (800) 657-3961; or the Baxter headquarters at (218) 828-5777 or toll-free at (800) 657-3971.
State law also says that signs and other items may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits but in proximity to a roadway without consent of the landowner.
"Illegally placed signs and objects can restrict the visibility of drivers in many situations, especially at intersections and divert the persons attention away from operating a motor vehicle safely," said Ken Larson, Mn/DOT's roadway regulations supervisor in the Baxter. "They are also a hazard to legal users of the right of way, including people using ATVs and crews working on utilities."