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Private signs not permitted on highway rights-of-way

The St. Croix County Highway Department has received complaints of improperly placed signs within highway rights-of-way across the county. We would like to remind everyone that state law prohibits placement of private signs within highway rights-of-way in Wisconsin. This applies to signs for advertising, reality, political campaigns, or any other sign not placed by the state, county, or a municipality. Signs that are improperly placed in the right-of-way can:

• Compound damages or injuries in the event of a crash.

• Distract a motorist’s attention.

• Obstruct a motorist’s view.

• Endanger the safety of individuals who are placing signs.

• Present obstacles for crews who maintain roadways.

County highway crews will remove signs found within a highway right-of-way. Signs that pose a safety hazard will be removed immediately. Highway crews will attempt to preserve signs that are removed and provide the sign owner with an opportunity to claim the signs. Removed signs will be taken to the County Highway Facility in Baldwin.

For more information on where you can properly place your signs, visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s website. If you have a specific right-of-way question, contact the municipality in charge of maintenance for the highway in question.

What is a highway right-of-way?

A highway right-of-way is the area needed for traffic lanes, shoulders, ditches, and vehicle recovery. For county roads they are typically 66-feet wide (33-feet from centerline) but can vary based on the demands and construction requirements. Interstates, freeways, and most state highways are much wider than 66 feet.

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