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As Campaign Season Ramps Up, So Does The Sign Patrol

Adam Schweigert
Flickr- Creative Commons

During an election year, campaign signs start popping up along area roadways. Sometimes they’re placed where they shouldn't be, and patrols from the Colorado Department of Transportation are taking to the streets to clear them from the state’s right of way.

“Any signs really, yard sale, any kind of sign not approved by the state is not legal in our right of way according to federal law,” said Nancy Shanks with CDOT. “If there’s a sign in the right of way that hasn't been properly installed, it’s something that can pose a safety hazard to drivers too. So it really is a twofold issue.”

The placing of campaign signs and roadside advertising is mandated by the Lady Bird Johnson Highway Beautification Act of 1965, as well as Colorado’s state statutes for outdoor advertising [.pdf]. Campaign signs are allowed on private property, with the owner’s consent, but must be removed promptly after Election Day.

Once signs are taken by CDOT they’re held for a short time, as a courtesy, at a local agency office for pick up.

“There’s no hard and fast rule, but we’ll do our best,” Shanks said. “I know our crews do their best to keep them for a short amount of time.”

Shanks said the state doesn't officially count the number of signs removed from state highways. People who want to retrieve signs taken by maintenance patrols can call their local CDOT office, however, Shanks said that’s not always the best option.

“Honestly, the better thing to do is just not place them there in the first place" she said. "We do understand sometimes that it’s not the candidate necessarily that’s doing the placing. It might be campaigners, it might just be anyone really who decided to put those signs there. If there were some signs taken out, just call one of our main numbers and we should be able to help out."

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