With the primary election fastly approaching on May 22, the Kentucky Department of Highway (KDH) personnel are encountering an increased number of campaign and advertising signs on the right of way of state maintained roadways.
“This is a matter of safety,” said KDH District 11 Chief Engineer Tom Napier. “These signs restrict sight distance at busy intersections. They are often placed in the clear zone, which is the recovery zone for motorists who run off the roadway. Others interfere with our maintenance activities.”
Public Information Officer Jonathan Dobson said the signs are a “big impediment” to the state’s mowing operations.
“It’s spring time and the signs are out and the weeds and tall grasses are also,” said Dobson. “As our crews go out and do their mowing they will be removing the signs at that time. In addition, if they get complaints from law enforcement about signs that are not necessarily in the way of mowing, but are causing visibility problems for folks - a safety hazard, they will be removed.”
Dobson said this not necessarily “an election time thing.”
“Even past the May 22 election, this is not necessarily limited to the campaign signs,” said Dobson. “At this point the vast majority of the signs are related to the election. Any number of signs are advertising businesses, yard sales, check cashing institutions and real estate signs. Even thought this time of year it’s the election signs we deal with the most, it’s year round. If these signs are in the way of maintenance operations or present a hazard to the driving public we will remove them.”
Dobson said illegally placed signs in Harlan County will be moved to the state highway garage, located on KY 3152 at Dayhoit, where owners may claim them by showing identification and completing a claim form. The signs will be kept for a period of two weeks and after that any unclaimed signs will be discarded. The state highway garage in Harlan County is open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The signs will be removed without regard to whom they promote,” said Napier. “We will treat all illegally placed signs equally.”
Kentucky law and Transportation Cabinet policy prohibit the placement of political or other advertising signs on state right of way including signs attached to utility poles within the state right of way.
“When our employees remove illegally placed signs, they’re simply doing their jobs as required by law and as directed by the Department of Highways,” said Napier. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com