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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Campaign signs start appearing on roadsides

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  • The Delaware Department of Transportation is announcing that political campaign signs now may be installed along Delaware roadsides.
    There are some exceptions, said DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff.
    Normally, signs installed along the right of way (state-owned strip of land along the roads) are prohibited, but state law allows signs to be installed along the roads 30 days prior and 30 days after an election. Because there are statewide primaries this year, candidates and campaign workers were able to begin installing signs Aug. 10.
    However, there are still many restrictions on where the signs can placed, Westhoff said.
    Specifically, the law prohibits at all times all non-official signage in medians, in channelization islands, on utility poles, and no closer than 10 feet from the edge of pavement of state roads and highways.
    This is also known as the Clear Zone Law, he said.
    Outside the Clear Zone, signs are allowed to be placed in the remaining portion of the right of way during an election cycle. Starting this year, signs are also prohibited in the triangular strips of land between roads and access ramps; an area called the “gore” or “gore point.” 
    Because it is prohibited to stop on a limited–access highway, Interstates 95, 495 and 295, and the tolled portions of Del. Route 1, placement of signs along these roadways is discouraged.
    The goal of the Clear Zone Law is simple, Westhoff said:
    Keep the rights-of-way and utility poles clear of visual pollution, which contribute to litter and can be a safety hazard. The law must be applied equally to all who place signs in the right of way, he said. The law subjects the owner of an illegal sign or other obstruction placed in the state’s right of way to a $25 per sign fine and a $15 per sign recovery fee.
    All signs must be removed 30 days after the election has concluded.
    For the specific law, go to delcode.delaware.gov/title17/c005/index.shtml, Title 17, Chapter 5, starting at 524.
     

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