Department of Highways, District 11
Transportation Cabinet to remove illegal signs on state right of way in District 11

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 02, 2006  
Contact Information:  Sandy Rudder
Public Information Officer
District 11


Beginning Wednesday, March 15, The Transportation Cabinet will start removing signs illegally placed on state right of way in the 8-county area of District 11. This includes the counties of Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie and Whitley.


Signs to be removed include political signs and other business and promotional signs that encroach on the right of way of state highways. The signs will be removed for legal and safety reasons.


"The safety of the traveling public is our overriding concern," said Greene L. Keith, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways District 11. "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. That is why we plan to remove these illegally placed signs, after an announced grace period to allow sign owners to take their own signs down if they so desire. Any signs that remain after March 14, will be removed by Department of Highways personnel."


"Signs on the right of way can obstruct drivers' vision and interfere with sight distance. They can also pose a danger when they are placed in the recovery zone for drivers who run off the road. An abundance of signs can take drivers' attention off the road, and driver distraction is a leading cause of traffic accidents. These signs also interfere with mowing and litter removal operations, and can pose a danger to motorists and workers alike if they are struck by mowers or by vehicles on litter pickup duty and thrown through the air,"  Keith continued.


Not only is it illegal to install a sign on state right of way, it is also illegal to attach a sign to a structure already installed on state right-of-way. For example, a sign should not be bolted to guardrail. “Guardrail is there to protect vehicles. Signs interfere with that protection and create a danger,” Keith said.


The signs slated for removal include temporary signs such as those promoting political candidates, "work at home" opportunities, low-cost Internet connections, and the like. Permanently installed signs that encroach on state right of way in District 11 will continue to be addressed by the district's permits officer.  Roads listed below cannot have ANY signs posted:


Bell Co.            US 25E     Begin Tennessee State Line               End Knox County Line

                         US 119      Begin US 25E                                      End Harlan County Line

                          KY 3085     Begin KY 2014                                   End Knox County Line




Clay Co.         KY 80        Begin Hal Rogers Parkway                 End US 421                      

                         US 421       Begin  KY 80                                      End Jackson County Line



Harlan Co.       US 119       Begin Bell County Line                     End Letcher County Line

                          US 421       Begin Virginia State Line                  End Leslie County Line




Jackson Co.     KY 30       Begin Laurel County Line                    End Owsley County Line

                          US 421     Begin Clay County Line                    End Rockcastle County Line

                          KY 89       Begin Rockcastle County Line          End Estill County Line



Knox Co.          US 25E      Begin Bell County Line                      End Laurel County Line

                         KY 3041     Begin US 25E                                 End 1.6 miles south of US 25E

                          KY 3085     Begin Bell County Line                      End US 25E

                          KY 229       Begin US 25E                                    End Laurel County Line




Laurel Co.        US 25E       Begin Knox County Line                   End I-75

                          US 25          Begin Hal Rogers Parkway              End KY 490

                          KY 490         Begin US 25                                End KY 30

                          KY 30          Begin KY 490                                   End Jackson County Line

                          KY 80          Begin Pulaski County Line               End Hal Rogers Parkway

                          KY 192        Begin I75                                          End  Hal Rogers Parkway

                          KY 229        Begin Knox County Line                            End US 25



Whitley Co.      KY 90          Begin McCreary County Line            End US 25W    

                        US 25W      Begin KY 90                                    End I-75


Laurel & Whitley  -- All of Interstate 75

Laurel, Clay, Leslie—All of Hal Rogers Parkway



Any signs that are removed will be taken to the state highway garage in that county, where they will be kept for two weeks before being disposed of. This will give the signs' owner an opportunity to claim them.


"We understand that some of these signs are expensive, so we want to give advance warning of this effort to allow owners to remove the signs on their own. If we remove them, we will give the owners a chance to come and get them, but we will not be responsible if the signs are damaged if our crews remove them," Keith said. "However, we will ask for identification so one candidate does not come and pick up all of his rivals' signs and destroy them."


Keith also stressed that bumper stickers should not be applied to road signs.  "Stickers can obscure important information on the signs. Plus, it is nearly impossible to remove a sticker from a sign without tearing off the reflective sheeting and ruining the sign. It costs tax dollars to replace these damaged signs and this is a needless expense that can be avoided," he said.


With an increased emphasis on roadside beautification across Kentucky in 2006, an illegal sign removal program fits right in with that initiative. “The emphasis on safety and beautification is important for all of us in eastern Kentucky. Removing signs that are illegally posted on state right of way is simply part of the job,” Keith said.