MDOT SHA Says Posting Signs On Highway Rights Of Way Is Prohibited

Officials say it all signs, not just campaign signs.

Baltimore, Md (KM) With the political campaign season well underway, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration reminds citizens it’s illegal under state and federal law to place signs along highway rights of way. That includes medians, shoulders, or existing traffic signs or structures.

Spokesman Charlie Gischlar says this is the time of year signs are popping up everywhere along the roads, particularly signs promoting specific candidates running for office. But it’s not just political signs. “On any given weekend on a state right of way, you can see all kinds for-sale signs, realtors’ signs, and all kinds of signs. We just ask that you don’t put ’em in our right of way which is generally between utility pole and utility pole. if you look at a typical section of road from right to left and across the road,”: he says.

Gischlar says these signs could be a distraction to drivers. ‘If you put a sign in a wrong place, you can actually obstruct someone else’s sight distance, and your create a major. ,major safety hazard,”: he says. “That’s why we reserve our property for regulated traffic control devices.”

Those signs can also interfere with traffic signal operations. “A traffic signal infrastructure which is largely underground. That’s part of an issue there. If you start poking signs in there, you could end up damaging some of our underground infrastructure,” says Gischlar.

The spring is also time of year the MDOT SHA does the mowing of grass in highway rights of ways, and any unauthorized signs  could interfere with grass-cutting operations..  “Before we do a mowing operation, we have to remove them because that become an issue all to itself,” says Gischlar. “We remove them and bring them  to the shop that’s in our area. If it’s in your area, it would be the Frederick shop.”

Those signs will be kept in storage until the owners come and retrieve them.

Gischlar says this law does not apply to private property that  abuts a state highway. He says landowners can put signs on their properties for the motoring public to see if they keep them out of the MDOT SHA rights of way.

By Kevin McManus