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News Item #1317
[Commonwealth of Kentucky]
District 12 Employees Remove Illegally Placed Signs
Posted: 5-Feb-2006 3:28AM CST

Illegally placed signs removed from state highway rights-of-way in Knott County.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 12 Press Release:

Highway workers set second cycle of illegal sign removal on state right of way
HIGHWAY DISTRICT 12—February 3, 2006—Starting Monday, February 13, motorists will see workers again removing signs that are on state right-of-way along four-lane roads and many state primary (two-lane) roads throughout Highway District 12. The district includes seven counties: Lawrence, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, Knott, Pike, and Letcher.
State workers removed thousands of signs in a massive sweep this past November. “There were hardly any political signs at that time, because the election season was several months away,” said Danl Hall, Chief District Engineer. “So candidates may not realize that we are routinely removing illegal signs. We realize that signs are expensive and we want to give people time to retrieve their signs before we take them down.”
It is illegal to install a sign on state right-of-way. It is also illegal to post a sign to a structure already installed on state right-of-way. For example, a sign should not be bolted to guardrail. “Guardrail is there to protect vehicles. Signs interfere with that protection and created a danger,” Hall said. A sign advertising a telephone number for people to call about jobs should not be nailed to a stake and placed on state right-of-way. Even posting a sign for a yard sale, taped to a speed limit sign, for example, is against the law.
If private individuals or businesses have signs on state right-of-way, and they want to save those signs, they should retrieve them before Monday, February 13. “We will not be responsible for damage to any sign or sign post that we remove, since it was installed illegally to begin with,” Hall explained.
All signs will be taken to the nearest state maintenance garage and kept for 30 days. If they are not claimed by then, they will be destroyed. District 12 has 10 maintenance garages in its seven counties: Lawrence County (near Yatesville Lake), Johnson County (at Staffordsville), Martin County (KY 645 just outside Inez), Knott County (at Hindman), Minnie in Floyd County and Allen in Floyd County, Letcher County (on US 119 near Mayking), Canada in Pike County, at Dry Fork of Shelby in Pike County, and on KY 194 between Kimper and Phelps in Pike County.
Hall said he understands that people sometimes put a lot of money and work into these signs. “But the fact of the matter is,” he said, “they create safety problems, such as limiting sight distance. They also interfere with litter pickup and the operation of heavy equipment used to mow the shoulders and medians.”
In addition to the safety concerns, the Transportation Cabinet is preparing for major beautification projects along some of the more highly traveled roads in the district. “We spent $40,000 in October 2005 to prepare and fertilize our grass medians to strengthen the soil so that grass will grow thicker and choke out more weeds,” said Darold Slone, Operations Branch Manager. “We have used herbicides to kill weeds in the areas designated for wildflower gardens. Plantings are under way that should result in a beautiful array of wildflowers at several interchanges this coming spring.” The first round of beautification locations in District 12 include the intersection of US 23 and US 460 at Paintsville in Johnson County, the intersection of KY 114 and US 23 in Floyd County, the intersection of US 23 and KY 80 at Watergap in Floyd County, two locations along US 23 in Letcher County, and the intersection of KY 292 and US 119 in Pike County near the West Virginia state line.
As part of the Transportation Cabinet’s beautification program, which involves $18.2 million statewide, litter pickup and mowing cycles have increased. Additional mowing schedules have also been added. The recent practice has been to mow three times each year. In 2006, four-lane roads will be mowed five times with litter removal included in each mowing contract. Two-lane state primary roads will be mowed four times, also with litter removal.
“The emphasis on safety and beautification is important for all of us in Eastern Kentucky. Removing signs that are illegally posted on state right-of-way is simply part of the job,” Hall said.
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Updated: 5-Feb-2006 3:28AM CST

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