Temporary Signs Not Allowed on State Highway Right-of-Way

April 8, 2011 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - SUMMIT COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is reminding those who place unauthorized signs along the state’s right-of-way that it is illegal and deemed unsafe.

CDOT crews continue to remove campaign, real estate, sales or other types of signs along Colorado’s highways in Summit County.  Recently, a number of signs have been removed along U.S. 6 and State Highway 9.

“It’s not only illegal but it’s unsafe since it creates an added distraction along the road for drivers,” said CDOT Deputy Superintendent for the Summit County Jim Pitkin.  “The signs we pick up aren’t immediately thrown away.  We keep them for 30 days so owners can retrieve them.  After that, we discard them.”

CDOT stores the signs at one of three maintenance facilities in Summit County: near the factory outlet stores below the Dillon Dam; at the CDOT shop at the County Commons in Frisco; and on the west side of Loveland Pass on U.S. 6, just east of the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

State highway right-of-way varies but generally ranges from approximately 10 to 30 feet from the right edge of the pavement.  It is often marked by fencing, telephone poles or similar utilities.

“Federal and state laws prohibit campaign and other non-approved signs in state right of way, which includes posting on poles or highway signs” CDOT Maintenance Superintendent David Wieder said. “And while our crews attempt to remove signs—particularly those that pose a safety hazard or interfere with maintenance activities—this takes time away from their regular operations, which is maintaining and keeping the highways safe for all of us.”

State roadside advertising rules are mandated by Federal Law (23 CFR 750G, or the Lady Bird Johnson Highway Beautification Act), as well as Colorado State Statutes for Outdoor Advertising (CRS 43-1-400 to 420, or Colorado’s Outdoor Advertising Act). No signs are to be placed on Colorado state right of way. Real estate signs can be placed outside the ROW line on the property for sale. Campaign signs are also allowed on private property (with owner’s approval), outside the state right-of-way line.  However, local rules and regulations may also apply.