TxDOT reminds campaigners not to post signs on highway right of way

TxDOT reminds campaigners not to post signs on highway right of way

In a news release on Feb. 8, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is warning citizens and candidates vying for positions in upcoming political races that placing campaign signs on the state highway right of way is illegal and creates a potential safety hazard.

According to TxDOT Public Information Officer Sarah Dupre, political elections are usually accompanied by an increase in the number of campaign signs placed along roadways this time of year. State transportation officials want to ensure that citizens and candidates are aware of the laws regulating sign placement on the state highway right of way.

Under Texas law, it is a class C misdemeanor to place any kind of sign on the state highway right of way. This includes posting signs on trees, utility poles, traffic signs and other objects on the right of way. The penalty for violating this law is a fine of up to $500 per sign.

"We observe signs of all kinds in state right of way throughout the year," Dupre said, not just during election seasons. "Our maintenance staff does remove signs anytime they are within the limits of state right of way."

Neither candidates nor campaigners are notified when their signs are removed, according to Dupre, but, if caught placing them, they face the misdemeanor charge and fine. 

While placing signs on the right of way is forbidden, says Dupre, it is legal to place a campaign sign on private property adjacent to state highways with landowners’ permission. Restrictions require that signs be constructed of lightweight material and limited to 50 square feet in size. Signs may be placed as early as 90 days prior to an election and must be removed within 10 days after an election.

TxDOT officials say the laws are intended to reduce clutter along highways so that official traffic control signs and vehicles approaching intersections are clearly visible for the safety of all the traveling public.

TxDOT’s regulatory authority allows the immediate removal of a sign placed on state highway right of way without prior notice if the sign is not authorized by state law or approved by the department. Signs posing potential safety hazards will be removed as soon as possible.