MnDOT reminds election campaigns, businesses to keep signs out of rights of way

Campaign Signs
(Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, Minn. — With election campaign season heating up, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is tossing cold water on the fever with a reminder that state law bans campaign and other advertising signs on any highway right of way.
All state, county, city and township roads and highways fall under the same state law, according to a MnDOT news release. What’s more, signs can be posted only on land where the owner has granted permission, the release said.
Highway rights of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.
MnDOT is required to remove unlawfully placed signs and impound them at a local maintenance truck station. Violation of the law, Minn. Statute 160.27, is a misdemeanor.
Civil penalties also may apply if the sign contributes to a crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.
The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act, Minn. 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 MnDOT removes improperly placed signs, every effort is made to store them temporarily and notify the owner where the signs can be retrieved.
For more information, contact the local MnDOT office at (507) 286-7500 or check the regulations at the MnDOT website.
When placing signs, the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally strike 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 digging area.