Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Signs and other objects along highway right of way and MnDOT property

Why do laws regulate the placement of objects in the highway right of way?

Objects along roadways pose hazards for drivers and maintenance crews. Minnesota Statutes, section 160.2715 says in part that it is unlawful to paint, print, place, or affix any object within the limits of any state highway.

Specific laws for advertising and other signs

The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 173.15) prohibits advertising devices:

  • on private land without the consent of the owner or occupant;
  • on public utility poles;
  • on trees or shrubs; and
  • by painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

The state law that prohibits the placement of signs in the highway right of way applies to all state, county, city and township roads and highways.

The Federal Highway Administration office in Minnesota monitors Minnesota's compliance with federal highway beautification laws. State transportation employees are responsible for administering these laws on state highways and must remove signs that violate the laws. County, city, and township employees administer these laws on their roads.

Can I get my sign back?

Illegal signs will be removed. MnDOT is responsible for state highways, and county, city, and township employees are responsible for their roads. Local municipalities also have their own regulations, which may differ from city to city and county to county. Contact your local MnDOT office for help when signs are being placed and specific highway right of way cannot be clearly identified. When improperly placed signs are removed by department employees, every effort will be made to temporarily store the sign and to notify the owner where the signs can be retrieved.

What about flags?

MnDOT decides to display the U.S. flag at locations within its right-of-way. Out of respect for all that the flag symbolizes, flags that are displayed must follow U.S. flag code and be in compliance with MnDOT guidelines.