WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds farmers that planting crops within rights of way is illegal because as crops grow higher and fuller, they can block motorists' vision and create other safety problems.
State law also prohibits plowing and tilling in rights of way, including shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.
"Our roadway regulation inspectors are knowledgeable and willing to help landowners adopt practices that enhance safety and the environment," said Steve Lund, MnDOT's state maintenance engineer. "The goal of these restrictions is to ensure safety and to protect roadside environments."
Individuals who cut hay in ditches along state highways are responsible for the removal of the hay bales and associated equipment. Obstructions can create a safety hazard to motorists, which could result in civil liabilities to both the property owner and the individual who placed the objects.
MnDOT is responsible for administering laws that pertain to state highways and will clear crops, hay bales and any other items from the highway right of way without notice. The department also may bill individuals for the removal.
For further information regarding roadway regulations, or assistance in identifying right-of-way boundaries on a state highway, contact the Willmar headquarters at 320-231-5195, toll free 1-800-657-3792; Marshall office at 507-537-6146, toll free 1-800-657-3748; or the MnDOT office in Hutchinson at 320-234-8480, toll free 1-800-682-8249.