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Private signs not permitted on public highway rights of way

Jul 08, 2022 06:07AM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Transportation • July 7, 2022

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds the public that state law prohibits placement of private signs of any kind (i.e., political, lost pet, garage sale and other advertising signage) on highway right-of-way in Minnesota. Highway rights of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches, sight corners at intersections, and boulevards in urban areas.

In addition, state law says that signs may not be placed on private land without the consent of the landowner.

Violation of the law, Minnesota Statute 160.27, is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties may also apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash, creates injury to a person, or causes damage to a motor vehicle that runs off the road. 

The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act, Minnesota Statute 173.15, also prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features. 

MnDOT workers are required to take down private signs located on the state highway right-of-way. County, city and township employees administer these laws on their roads.

For information about the proper placement of campaign signs or where to retrieve signs, contact the local MnDOT office at 218-755-6500. See also

When placing signs, the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility is to call 811 before digging, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Go to the GSOC websiteand request that underground utilities be marked near the area of the digging.  

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