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Keep signs off road rights of way

WILLMAR -- Political campaign signs must be kept off road rights of way, or candidates and their supporters risk the signs being confiscated.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is warning campaign managers that placing signs in highway rights of way is illegal.

The state law pertains to state highways, county roads, township roads and city streets.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor and civil penalties could apply if the sign contributes to a crash, creates injury to a person or damages a vehicle that runs off the road.

MnDOT employees enforce the law on state highways and will remove signs that violate the law, according to Diane Beck, public affairs director for the MnDOT District 8 office in Willmar. County, city and township officials enforce the law on their own streets and roads.

Signs that MnDOT officials remove will be stored and the campaign will be notified to retrieve them.

The law also prohibits campaign signs on private land without the consent of the owner or occupant, and prohibits signs on public utility poles, trees, shrubs or rocks.

The law does not target only political signs. All unauthorized signs, whether they belong to churches, private citizens, businesses or charitable organizations, will be removed if they are placed in the right of way.