Story by Bella Utley, Contributing writer
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) warns residents to refrain from placing signs along the right-of-way in order to protect mowing crews and motorists.
Keith Todd, KYTC District 1 representative said the right-of-way is the property along the side of the road.
He said the rural roads, two lane roads and older highways generally extend to about 15- 20 feet off the pavement, but the newer roads generally have more right-of-way area.
“Anything placed in that area is illegal,” Todd said. “We are required by law to keep obstructions and anything that would distract drivers off of the right-of-way. The one exception would be mailboxes.”
He said this becomes a bigger problem closer to Election Day because candidates and their supporters put signs up in the last three weeks of the campaign.
According to a media release, KYTC personnel are removing signs in all 12 counties of Highway District 1 in preparation for upcoming state and federal campaigns.
“This is a problem year round,” Todd said. “We have organizations and technician places that will put signs out with numbers to call. A lot of businesses are using them.”
On Kentucky 80, the width of the right-of-way is several hundred feet in some areas. Todd said it is illegal to put signs on the roadway side of a right-of-way fence. He said it is also illegal to put signs on utility poles.
“The biggest confusion is people who think their front yard goes all the way to the edge of the pavement,” Todd said.
For example, he said the KYTC removed signs from a man’s yard and he called Todd concerning the removal. Todd said he assured him that the right-of-way extended out about 20 feet, which happened to be about half of the yard space.
Todd said the man grew frustrated and asked to get paid for mowing state property, or at least get the state to mow his lawn for him.
“I am glad he takes some community pride, but we aren’t going to pay him to do that,” Todd said. “We certainly aren’t going to come around and do that for him.”
David Ramey, candidate for the Kentucky House of Representatives, said people involved in political campaigns are well aware of the right-of-way laws.
“There is a process with the public transportation because they have to protect the public first,” Ramey said. “If the signs are in the right-of-way, they take them down and notify the campaigns. There is an opportunity for them to pick up the signs at the state highway garage.”
Ramey said he tries very hard to abide by all the rules given. Generally the signs are placed where the public has asked for them, with the owner’s permission.
Ramey said he served on the planning committee of Murray for six years, and he said the city of Murray takes actions to guarantee that the community has a certain standard concerning sign placement..
“Sometimes emotions run high during campaigns, and people need to remember to do what benefits our community,” Ramey said.