The Georgia Department of Transportation is gearing up for the municipal elections around the state and reminding candidates, campaign workers, and property owners that state laws exist regarding yard signs.
Signage of any kind that is found in state right of way and is not previously authorized is unlawful and will be removed as soon as possible after discovery by Georgia DOT maintenance crews as part of the Department’s routine maintenance work.
Signs on the state highway system – interstates and state routes – must be approved and permitted to be placed on the right of way. The number of unauthorized political signs typically increases during an election year, but they are not the only problem. Signs that advertise yard sales, real estate or goods and services for sale are often found in the right of way. Unauthorized signs can distract drivers or obstruct their view and also can lead to debris that clogs drainage systems along highways and state routes during inclement weather, which creates safety hazards.
Georgia Code 32-6-51 states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to erect, place or maintain within the right of way of any public road any sign, signal or other device except as authorized by subsection (d) of this Code section.”
The width of the right of way depends on the route. If there are power poles on the right of way, the edge is usually behind the poles. However, check with the property owner to determine the property line nearest the roadway.
It’s not unusual for GDOT maintenance employees to uproot several hundred signs during an election year. The signs are then taken back to our headquarters and held for 30 days; giving the owners an opportunity to reclaim them and if not reclaimed, then destroyed.