MoDOT asks public to keep political signs out of right of ways

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation sent out an email Monday morning asking the public to avoid putting political campaign signs on state roadsides and intersections.

Two reasons MoDOT wants campaign signs off their roadsides is because signs obstruct roadside maintenance and driver vision. 

“If you try to take a left or right turn out of a side street or another state street and you can't see clearly where traffic may be coming down the road because your vision may be impaired by one of these signs, that's a safety issue,“ said MoDOT District Engineer David Silvester. "We have to maintain that safe traveling environment as much as we can for the public. 

Silvester says even the process of placing signs on state roadsides itself is dangerous because people don’t have the right safety equipment to do so.

According to former political strategist Steven Wyse, people take the risk of putting political signs on state roadsides because of campaign exposure.  

“The signs are for people to see“ said Wyse. "If you have a sign that doesn't grab somebody's attention, it's not a very good sign. I think anything that's in your field of vision can be distracting, but I think you'd have to be a very unfocused driver for that to be an issue." 

MoDOT says they attempt to contact the owner of the campaign sign before they remove it from the roadside.

Some campaigns take advantage of the sign removal by intentionally placing signs on the right of way just before election day, knowing they'll be removed because it's against state law.

"Even though you're not supposed to do that, it's not uncommon practice for campaigns to put extra signs in the right of way," Wyse said. 

MoDOT allows removed signs to be picked up at their maintenance facility for up to 30 days. 

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