Rules of the Road: Temporary Signs

Temporary signs

Idaho Highways are some of the heaviest-populated areas of the state, making them great places to reach people with messages. But, improper placement of signs or banners can compromise the safety of the road and its users. Here are some things to remember when it comes to placing signs along the highway.

The #1 best practice is to place signs outside the right-of-way (ROW). ITD’s ROW is the land beneath and beside the pavement that is needed for the highway to function well and safely. For most of our roads, the ROW includes shoulders and low drainage areas. Posting signs in this area can negatively impact safety as they can block required sight distances, create distractions and hinder maintenance activities; such as mowing and litter pick-up.

This also applies to posting signs on fences along the highway or bridges over the highway. Generally, those fences mark the edge of ITD’s ROW and posting signs in these places poses similar concerns as stated above.

There are a couple of features you can look for to help guide proper placement of your signs. If there’s a fence running along the highway, you probably shouldn’t place signs anywhere between the fence and highway. If you don’t see a fence, but see power poles along the highway, those are generally placed just inside the ROW. So, you can use power poles as a general marker and not post signs between them and the highway.

Protecting these areas is codified in Idaho law. You can read more in §18-7029 and §40-1910, Idaho Code.

It probably goes without saying, but before placing signs on private property, be sure to ask the property owner if it’s okay.

ITD’s maintenance crews have limited resources to address illegally placed signs or posters. However, when ITD maintenance crews are working in the general area, they will remove signs that pose a visual obstruction, create a safety hazard or generate complaints.

The most popular time for temporary signs is before an election. Besides placing your signs in the proper location, the next best thing you can do is collect your signs after the polls close. We’d prefer not to send out our crews to collect signs, but if they remain posted we will grab them for you. We’ll hold them for 10 days after an election, so you can collect them.

Help us keep our highways safe and follow these simple guidelines when posting temporary signs. Questions? Call ITD at (208) 334-8000 and we can help with any specifics.