Candidates, volunteers urged to keep signs from littering roadways
Ponca City Now - November 2, 2018 7:32 am
In the final days before the Nov. 6 general election, political candidates and volunteers are urged to do their part in saving taxpayer money and keep Oklahoma’s highways free of illegal litter.
While areas along highways or bridges may seem like a great place for signs to drum up attention for a candidate or cause, it’s actually illegal to do so. State law prohibits any materials being placed in highway rights-of-way because they are a safety hazard for traffic and for highway workers.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation urges all candidates and their campaign staffs to comply with state law and keep signs out of these areas. Ignoring the law also causes dangers for the campaign volunteers who try to place them along high-speed corridors or on bridges.
When signs are illegally placed, ODOT crews spend time away from other highway maintenance operations to pick up each sign, which can be time-consuming and also place workers in dangerous situations next to traffic.
Taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill for this, as the cleanup costs come out of highway maintenance funds. Each year, more than $5 million is spent by the department to pick up trash along Oklahoma highways, which includes illegally placed signs. That’s in addition to what volunteer groups along with county and municipal governments spend in time and money to keep Oklahoma clean.
One solution is for candidates to place signs on private property with the landowner’s permission. Within city limits, candidates should check local ordinances for questions regarding municipally maintained rights of way. However, even within city limits, signs are prohibited on state-maintained highways, overpasses and bridges.