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Political Signs in NCDOT Right-of-Way, General Statute sets regulations

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022 1:07 pm

RALEIGH – Drivers traveling on North Carolina roadways are likely seeing a lot of campaign signs ahead of the primary election on May 17. 

Per General Statute 136-32 (b), political signs, if properly placed, are allowed on N.C. Department of Transportation right-of-way until May 27. 

NCDOT has the authority to remove any signs that violate the general statute, create safety hazards for travelers or interfere with maintenance operations. NCDOT employees may remove signs that are illegally placed within the state right-of-way, as time permits. The signs are normally taken to local maintenance offices where they will be stored until claimed. 

Per the general statute, restrictions regarding the signs include:
•    Whoever places a sign is required to get the permission of any property owner of a residence, business or religious institution fronting the right of way where a sign would be placed;
•    No sign is permitted in the right of way of a limited-access highway such as an interstate;
•    No sign can be closer than 3 feet from the edge of the pavement of the road;
•    No sign can obscure motorist visibility at an intersection;
•    No sign can be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement;
•    No sign can be larger than 864 square inches; and
•    No sign can obscure or replace another sign.

If anyone else removes or vandalizes a sign, they could be subject to a Class 3 misdemeanor citation from law enforcement.

Campaign signs can remain in place for 10 days after the May 17 primary election. Signs still in the right of way after May 27 are in violation of state law, and the NCDOT is authorized to remove and dispose of them.

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