Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

It was great to see the media coverage from the news release sent Friday (Nov. 5) reminding property owners it’s time to remove temporary political signs visible from state highways.

The signs need to be down by Friday, Nov. 12.

The folks in WSDOT’s Outdoor Advertising group are responsible for making sure Washington is in compliance with state and federal highway advertising laws. The Highway Advertising Control Act “declares that sign control adjacent to state highways is necessary to assure that information of interest to the traveling public is presented safely and effectively, and to conserve the natural beauty of our roadsides.”

Part of the state’s role in highway advertising is outlined in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 468-66. This WAC is where you can find the regulations for temporary political signs on private property visible from state highways. First, property owners must consent. Then the signs,

  • must be removed within 10 days following the election (that’s Nov. 12, 2010)
  • can only reach a maximum size of 32 square feet in area, and
  • must comply with any local regulations.

Remember, no signs (other than those used for traffic control) are allowed within the state right-of-way. None – that includes retail, political, garage sale, etc. Why? Both safety and scenic issues. The WSDOT website provides more information about Washington’s outdoor advertising regulations.

Here are some basic clues on how to tell if a location is within a state highway right-of-way:

  • Utility poles are typically located inside the right-of-way. So no signs on the pole or between the pole and the state highway.
  • Many locations also have a fence line separating the right-of-way from private property. So again, no signs on the fence or between the fence and the state highway.

If you have question about Outdoor Advertising, contact Pat O’Leary. He can be reached at or by calling 360-705-7296. If your question is about a specific area, be prepared to provide the state route number (I-5, SR 28, US 2, US 97, etc.) and the name of the nearest intersection or approximate milepost.

So no signs in the right-of-way - none, ever. And if you do get permission to post them on private property, it's time to take them down for the season.