Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Objects not allowed on highway right of way
Houston County Courier - November 2008
By Kathi White
LUFKIN - Illegal signs and objects in the right of way continue to pose problems in East Texas, creating safety violations and potentially dangerous situations for motorists.
Businesses, churches, politicians, citizens, and others are reminded to refrain from placing signs on state highway right of way.
"We have experienced some problems in your area with residents placing holiday decorations on the ROW and this is not allowed," said Kathi White, Lufkin District public information officer.
Such signs are not allowed on state highway right of way, which is reserved for official traffic control signs.
Under Texas law, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) can remove any signs erected on highway right of way and the owner can be charged for removal costs.
The penalty for violating this law is a fine of up to $500 per sign and referral to the Office of the Attorney General.
"The law is intended to keep highway right of way clean and uncluttered so that official traffic control signs are clearly visible for the safety of the traveling public,” said Kathi White, Lufkin District public information officer.
"That means you can’t put signs on trees, utility poles, traffic signs or other objects in the highway right of way. As the holiday season approaches we’d also remind residents not to place decorations on the right of way. ”
The law doesn’t just apply to campaign signs. It is illegal to put any sign, including garage sale, church, and business signs, on state highway right of way without authorization.
Automobiles and permanent structures of any sort are also illegal and should be removed.
"It’s a great distraction to the traveling public and if anyone has a question regarding where the ROW is we can come out stake it,” said Gerald Colter, TxDOT’s Houston County maintenance supervisor.
"I’d like to also remind landowners that they can be held liable if there is an accident and their decorations or other objects are directly or indirectly involved.”
In the case of campaign signs, they can be placed on private property with the landowners’ permission.
They must be removed within 10 days after the election.
Signs within city limits may be subject to local ordinances.
TxDOT personnel will continue to enforce this law. Any sign or object found in violation of the right of way rules will be removed.
For more information, call Kathi White, public information Officer at 633-4395 or Gerald Colter, Houston County maintenance supervisor, at 544-2264.
Information about TxDOT is also available through the department’s website at www.txdot.gov.