"As the weather warms, we usually see a significant increase in advertising signs and items for sale placed illegally along county roadways," said Virgil Hawkins, Wright County’s Highway Engineer.
According to Minnesota State Statute, placing signs or objects in highway rights of way is a misdemeanor violation with a maximum $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Highway rights of way include driving lanes, shoulders, ditches, clear zones and sight corners at intersections.
State law also says that items may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits but in proximity to a roadway without consent of the landowner.
"Illegally placed signs and objects can distract and restrict the visibility of drivers in many situations, especially at intersections," said Hawkins. “They are also a hazard to legal users of the right of way, including people using ATVs and crews working on utilities.”
Wright County Highway crews have the authority to remove all signs within the right of way without notice.
Larger objects often placed illegally in the right of way include automobiles, boats and motors, campers, travel trailers, produce stands and large hay bales. These objects are extremely hazardous if a vehicle runs off the road and strikes it.
For information regarding roadway regulations, right of way boundaries, or where to find removed materials, please contact the Wright County Highway office in Buffalo at 763-682-7383, toll free 1-800-362-3667, ext. 7383.