Friday, October 28th, 2016

Sign language


We’re almost a week away from Primary Election Day, and the scramble by some volunteers to “get the really good spots” for yard signs is about to reach a feverish pitch. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has a few rules they would like everyone to remember.

“We certainly don’t want to interfere with the public’s right to participate in our democracy, but this essentially boils down to a highway safety issue,” said David Vieth, Director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Highway Operations. “Campaign workers risk their own safety when they enter an intersection or highway right-of-way to place a sign and such signs can distract motorists or obstruct their view.”

Other than official traffic signs, state law prohibits the placement of all signs, including campaign signs, within state highway right-of-way. The State Highway System includes all numbered state, federal and interstate highways. State highway right-of-way in rural areas can vary greatly, but as a general rule extends to beyond shoulders, ditches and any adjoining fence line. In urban areas along the state highway system, signs are prohibited from the roadway area to at least one foot past the sidewalk. In urban areas without sidewalks, signs must be at least 15 feet from the pavement edge. Signposts, street name marker posts and most utility poles are all within highway right-of-way. Signs are not allowed within highway medians.

My advice remains the same as always: it’s just a sign. It’s not worth risking your life putting one up and it’s certainly not worth stealing.

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