Political campaign signs not permitted on state highway rights of way

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds everyone that the placement of campaign and other advertising signage on any highway rights of way is not allowed under state law. All state, county, city and township roads and highways fall under the same state law.

 As political campaigns increase their efforts toward the Nov. 3 election, it’s important to know and follow the state laws regarding placement of signs off of state property and only on land where the landowner has agreed to its placement.

 Highway rights of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.

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Landowner consent is also needed before signs are placed on private property outside of the right of way.

 MnDOT is required to remove unlawfully placed signs and impound them at a local maintenance truck station.

 Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties may also apply if the placement of signage 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 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.