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

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 30, 2007  
Contact Information:  SANDY RUDDER
(606) 598-2145

MANCHESTER, KY (April 30, 2007) – With the May primary election less than a month away, grass and flowers aren’t the only things beginning to sprout up along Kentucky’s highways. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) personnel are noticing illegally placed campaign signs appearing on state right of way on an increasing basis.

Since these signs can interfere with motorist safety and impede mowing and other maintenance operations along state roads, Highway Commissioner Marc D. Williams has directed maintenance personnel to remove these illegal encroachments on state rights 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 8 counties in Highway District 11 will be removing these signs as we begin our spring mowing cycle.

“This is a matter of safety, not only for motorists but for our employees and contractors who put their lives at risk every day to keep our roads in excellent condition,” said Mike Calebs, Executive Director. “With the spring mowing and maintenance season underway, it’s vital that we remove these signs which impede our operations, as well as create distractions and sight distance obstructions for drivers.”

Mr. Calebs said that the improperly placed signs are especially detrimental to mowing operations, which are beginning this week on several routes in the area.

“If a mower accidentally strikes one of these signs, this can become very dangerous, especially if it’s one of the smaller signs with wire supports. If the sign or its wire support is struck by a rotating mower blade, it can become a projectile and therefore endanger the workers or passing motorists,” Calebs said.

Signs encroaching upon the state's right of way that create a sight distance or other safety hazard or impede 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,” Calebs said.
 “We will continue to schedule removal of these illegal signs so they will not interfere with our mowing and maintenance operations, thus eliminating 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.”

Commissioner Williams said that various Kentucky state laws, administrative regulations and Transportation Cabinet policies 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,” Williams said.

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

The sign removal project in District 11, which consists of Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie and Whitley 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,” Calebs 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.”