Department of Highways, District 10
Transportation Cabinet plans to remove signs illegally placed on state right of way

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, August 23, 2006  
Contact Information:  H.B. ELKINS
(606) 666-8841

JACKSON, KY. – (Aug. 23, 2006) -- With the November general election less than three months away, personnel in the Transportation Cabinet's Department of Highways District 10 are noticing campaign signs illegally placed on state right of way.

Candidates and their supporters who have improperly and illegally placed signs on state right of way should take notice that maintenance personnel in each of the district's 10 counties will begin removing these signs immediately.

"We had several problems with signs being illegally placed back during the spring," said Linda Wagner-Justice, chief district engineer. "We spent a considerable amount of time and effort removing these illegal signs, and we also tried to spread the word that placing signs on the right of way of state highways is against the law and also creates a safety hazard. Apparently, not all the candidates got the message because these problems are beginning to repeat themselves."

Signs encroaching upon the state's right of way that create a sight distance or other safety hazard or impede highway maintenance operations will be removed as necessary by Department of Highways personnel. Removed signs will be taken to the state highway garage in each county, where they will be kept for two weeks before being discarded. Owners of the signs may claim them by showing proper identification and completing a claim form.

"State law prohibits the placement of these signs on state highway right of way," Linda Wagner-Justice said. "We will continue to schedule removal of these illegal signs so they will not interfere with our mowing and maintenance operations, and so they will not pose a safety hazard to motorists. These signs will also be removed without regard to whom they promote. We will treat all illegal signs the same."

During the primary election season, Kentucky Highway Commissioner Marc D. Williams issued a memo to political candidates citing various Kentucky state laws, administrative regulations and Transportation Cabinet policies that prohibit the placement of political or other advertising signs on state right of way. This includes any signs attached to utility poles within the state right of way.

"Because such signs can distract drivers, obstruct sight distance, reduce the recovery zone for drivers who run off the road, negatively impact roadside aesthetics, and interfere with mowing and litter removal, they are expressly prohibited on state right of way and will be removed," the commissioner's memo states.

Any candidate or business owner wishing to see the directive may obtain a copy of the memo at their county's state highway garage or at the District 10 office in Jackson.

"Our employees who take down illegal signs are simply doing their jobs as required by law and as directed by the Commissioner of Highways," Wagner-Justice said. "We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the public."

The sign removal project in District 10, which consists of Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell and Wolfe counties, is part of a statewide effort being undertaken in all 120 counties and 12 highway districts.

"The safety of the traveling public is our overriding concern," Wagner-Justice said. "There are several valid safety reasons that signs should not be placed on state right of way, and we are committed to keeping our highways as safe as possible."