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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Candidates reminded to keep signs back from roads

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Signs, signs, everywhere signs? Well, they should not be everywhere.

The primary election is 34 days away and the political signs are popping up all over Putnam County. Unfortunately, some are showing up where they should not be.

The subject arose at the Putnam County Commissioners meeting Monday, with County Highway Co-Supervisor Jim Smith saying some signs have been placed on county right-of-way.

The early spring makes this especially problematic to the Highway Department, as mowing season has come early.

The right-of-way on roads varies throughout the county, ranging anywhere from 12 to 50 feet. This means the restricted area extends anywhere between 6 and 25 feet from the center of the road.

Ditches are generally a good indicator of the end of the county's right-of-way. Private property begins at the far side of a ditch.

Smith praised several local candidates for their signs being in compliance, but said he has seen some too close to the roadside.

One candidate for commissioner in the audience expressed his agreement with the policy.

"If it's mine or anybody else's, you need to pull it immediately," Rodney Fenwick said.

Smith said mowing crews are instructed to pull any signs that impede their progress. He did say, however, that if workers do not see the signs, they could be run over and damaged by the mowers.

The problem is not confined to county roads, though, as the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has similar guidelines regarding state and federal highways.

State rights-of-way end at the backs of ditches, fence lines or utility poles depending on the nature of the road. INDOT crews will not pull signs placed beyond any of these points.

Other state right-of-way areas include all interstate highways and their interchanges as well as all intersections where at least one local, state or federal road intersects with a state or federal highway.

INDOT personnel are required by state law to remove all unauthorized signs from these areas.

While a city does not have the same mowing issues as state and county crews, the right-of-way of most Greencastle streets still extends 20 feet each way from the center of the road. Signs should not be within this area.

Greencastle Public Works Commissioner Brad Phillips said his department fields calls about the issue, and if the sign is in the wrong area, it is removed.

Regardless of jurisdiction, workers try to remove the signs without harming them, and they are taken back to the department garage. Candidates may retrieve their signs at the appropriate location.

The Putnam County Highway garage is at 1624 W. CR 225 South, Greencastle, and may be contacted at 653-4741.

The Greencastle Department of Public Works is located at 502 N. College Ave., Greencastle, and may be reached at 653-3391.

INDOT has two Putnam County locations at 1558 West U.S. 36, Bainbridge (phone 522-2911) and 10 High St., Cloverdale (phone 795-6826).