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