/MDOT to campaigns Keep it off the streets!

MDOT to campaigns Keep it off the streets!

The Mississippi Department of Transportation issued a warning last week to political candidates about signs on public rights-of-ways. These signs are a “public nuisance” according to the Mississippi Code of 1972. The department can remove them after giving 10 days notice to their owners. This could become a losing battle as signs continue to grow during each campaign cycle. More than 30,000 miles are maintained by the department. The state owns the right-of way. However, the width can be extended to include driving lanes and shoulders as well as mowed areas. The department states that this right-of way area can extend to 300 feet from the center line of the driving lanes. MDOT’s Chief Engineering Mark McConnell stated that signs with steel or wood posts can be a distraction and block motorists’ sight lines. He also said that they could cause damage to equipment, or even projectiles to them if they are hit by mowers. McConnell stated that most signs are removed during maintenance such as mowing operations. Crews must spend time picking up illegal signs if they become a problem or hazard. Crews are unable to do other maintenance tasks. Signs are removed by crews and stored at local MDOT maintenance centers. McConnell states that the candidate will have two weeks to retrieve the signs before they are discarded. According to Corporal Tony Dunn, of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, “To my knowledge I have not seen any accidents related campaign signs.” It could cause a distraction if it is large enough or bright enough. Dunn stated
that it takes only seconds to run into someone or crash into them.