JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Just before election month, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is reminding candidates the rules of placing signs legally and disposing of the signs correctly when elections are over.
MDOT said each year during election season, their crews see some campaign signs placed in unlawful areas along the highway.
It is illegal to place signs within the right-of-way on state highways, according to MDOT.
They said keeping the right-of-way clear is important because it prevents safety hazards and possible interference with the traveling public along roadways. Signs can also pose a threat to visibility, impairing driver’s vision. Political signs with steel or wooden posts can harm roadside workers and their equipment if they are left along state highways.
“Political signs should be placed in legal areas, so that motorist and roadside worker safety is not put in jeopardy,” said Melinda McGrath, MDOT executive director. “It is important to know the laws regarding campaign sign placement because it can become a problem before and after an election.”
The width of highway right-of-way varies by location and includes the driving lanes, shoulders and mowed areas. The right-of-way area can reach distances of 300 feet or more from the centerline of driving lanes, and typically, the right-of-way is larger near roadway intersections.
MDOT workers will remove any signs that are found in unlawful areas.
MDOT said the signs would be kept for two weeks at a local MDOT maintenance facility before being discarded. Candidates can retrieve these signs from MDOT without any penalty.
They also want to remind candidates to remove their signs once the election has ended.
“Political signs contribute to the $3 million MDOT spends every year on removing liter from our highways,” said McGrath. “If election litter can be disposed of correctly, then that extra money could be put towards maintaining our highway system.”