Minnesota Department of Transportation

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July 8, 2022

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Political and other signs not permitted on state highway rights of way

ST. PAUL, Minn. — With Minnesota primaries just around the corner, and real estate and yard sale season in full swing, MnDOT reminds everyone that the placement of political campaign and other advertising signage is not allowed under state law on any highway right of way. All state, county, city and township roads and highways fall under the same state law.

Highway right of way includes driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches, and sight corners at intersections. Landowner consent is needed before signs are placed on private property outside of the right of way.

Why do laws regulate the placement of objects in the highway right of way?

Objects along roadways pose hazards for drivers and maintenance crews. Minnesota Statutes, section 160.2715 says in part that it is unlawful to paint, print, place, or affix any object within the limits of any state highway. Violation of the law (Minn. Stat. 160.27) is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may 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 (Minn. Stat. 173.15 ) also prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

Signs placed in right of way will be removed

Sign missing? MnDOT crews are required to remove unlawfully placed signs and impound them at one of its local maintenance truck stations. 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, visit 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.