Private signs not permitted on public highway rights-of-ways

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports private signs of any kind on highway right-of-way in Minnesota are illegal. These signs can cause distractions for drivers and maintenance crews.

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds the public that state law prohibits placement of private signs of any kind on highway right-of-way in Minnesota.

These signs include but are not limited to garage sale, political, lost pet and other advertising signage.

Highway rights-of-way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches, sight corners at intersections and boulevards in urban areas. These objects along roadways can pose hazards for drivers and maintenance crews.

In addition, state law says signs may not be placed on private land without the consent of the landowner.

Violation of the law, Minnesota Statute 160.27, is considered a misdemeanor. Civil penalties may also apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash, creates injury to a person, or causes damage to a motor vehicle that runs off the road.


The Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act, Minnesota Statute 173.15, also prohibits placing advertising materials on public utility poles, trees and shrubs and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

MnDOT workers are required to take down private signs located on the state highway right-of-way. County, city and township employees administer these laws on their roads.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility when placing signs is to call 811 before digging. Go to the Gopher State One Call website and request that underground utilities be marked near the area of the digging.

For information about the proper placement of private signs, right-of-way boundaries, or where to find removed materials, visit or contact the MnDOT St. Cloud office at 320-223-6500 or Baxter office at 218-828-5700.

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