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Campaign signs to be removed from state highway rights of way

The Minnesota Department of Transportation in southeast Minnesota will remove campaign signs and other advertising not allowed under state law on highway right of way, according to a press release.

Over the last few months, MnDOT has been contacting individuals in southeast Minnesota where signs are located on a state highway right of way to remove them and educate them about the state laws regarding placement of signs off of state property and only on land where the landowner has agreed to its placement.

MnDOT is required to remove unlawfully placed signs and will begin doing so Thursday. The increase in signs being placed during the fall election campaign has significantly increased the workload for MnDOT permits specialists who enforce the laws. MnDOT has contacted Republican and DFL county leaders in southeast Minnesota about legal sign placement and plans to remove signs beginning Thursday.

Highway rights of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections. Landowner consent is needed to place signs on private property outside of the right of way.

Violation of the law (Minnesota Statute 160.27) is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of a sign contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.

The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (Minnesota Statute 173.15) also prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

When improperly placed signs are removed by MnDOT, every effort is made to temporarily store the sign and notify the owner where the signs can be retrieved.

For information about the proper placement of campaign signs or where to retrieve signs, contact the local MnDOT office at 507-286-7500. See also mndot.gov/govrel/rw_signs.html.

When placing signs, the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility is to call 811 before digging, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Go to the Gopher State One Call website and request that underground utilities be marked near the area of the digging.

For travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit 511mn.org. Join the MnDOT SE Minnesota Facebook group for updates, information and news about MnDOT in southeast Minnesota.