Right-of-Way Sign Installation


To facilitate the response to requests for public signs in the City right-of-way, the following policy is adopted by the City Council. The policy addresses traffic control and other signage in the public right-of-way.

The purpose of the policy is to establish a procedure responsive to requests and establishing staff responsibility as well as cost participation for the processing and installation of signs within the public right-of-way.


Over the course of a year, the Department of Public Works receives many requests for Right-of-way sign installations. This policy establishes how the Department will handle these requests and allocate the costs for installation and maintenance.

Sign Types

Right-of-Way sign requests will be classified into six general categories. They are as follows:

  • Regulatory
  • Warning
  • Directional
  • Construction
  • Special Purpose
  • Not Permitted

Regulatory signing is defined as signing that informs drivers on how to function at an intersection or on a street. In the case of most regulatory signing there are certain criteria that must be met before they are installed. These criteria are set out in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices specifies conditions for the installation as well as requirements of maintenance. The courts look to this national publication when determining the reasonableness of installation and maintenance. Some examples of these type of signs would be: Stop, Yield, Do Not Enter, One Way, etc.

Warning signs are signs that provide advanced warning to drivers or pedestrians that something dangerous or unexpected may be ahead. As with Regulatory signs, these signs are generally mandated as to where and when they must be installed. Once installed, the City is required to maintain them. Examples of such signs would be Curve Ahead, Steep Slope, Stop Ahead, etc.

Directional signs provide additional information to help drivers find particular streets or to direct them in certain areas. Directional signs are required on higher speed roadways and must be maintained. They are installed on lower speed roadways but they are not required. Directional signs that are required would be on University Avenue, TH 65 and I-694, etc. Street name signs are an example of required signs on city streets.

Construction signing is self explanatory. These signs are installed to move vehicles and pedestrians safely through or around a construction zone. These signs provide safety to both vehicles and workers in the area. Their placement is mandated by law.

Special Purpose signs are not required to be provided by the City for general traffic purposes to provide for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. These signs are usually requested by a small group of people or individuals and benefit only a limited number of citizens. Examples of signs of this nature would be: Crime Watch, Drug free Zone, Special Events, No Parking Between, etc.

Not Permitted signs are prohibited by State Statute or City Ordinance. Examples are private signs on the public right-of-way and advertising. Other signing that falls into this category are signs that may fall into any of the above categories, but studies have shown that the sign has no affect on influencing the public's behavior. These signs may create a false sense of security that actually worsens the situation, detracts from other signs which have a much higher public safety benefit or the cost of installation and maintenance far outweighs the benefit.


From time to time, private citizens make requests for the installation of right-of-way signs. In order to avoid a proliferation of signs, reduce maintenance costs, and to make the most effective use of signs, these procedures will be followed:

  • Requests for regulatory and warning signs will be reviewed by the Public Safety Director and the Director of Public Works. The criteria for these signs appear in the MUTCD Policy Manual.
  • Other signs will be given consideration by the Director of Public Works on an individual basis.
  • Orders to erect signs shall be directed from the Director of Public Works to the Public Works Department.

All signs installed in the public right-of-way must be approved by the Public Works Director or by City Council resolution. When a sign request is received, the sign will be classified by the Public Works Director into one of the six sign classifications explained above. Once the sign has been classified, the necessary studies and reviews for that classification will be accomplished.

All signs installed in the public right-of-way shall be installed by the Department of Public Works or under the Department's supervision. The Department of Public Works will administratively establish guidelines for the location, number, design and maintenance of the signs. Routine maintenance of the signs, once they are installed, will be performed by the Department of Public Works.

The City refurbishes all signs on a 12-year cycle because this has been determined to be the end of the useful life of the material. During this refurbishing cycle all Special Purpose signs will be removed. If the signs are still desired, the requesting party must petition for reinstallation of the sign.

Cost Allocation:

Regulatory, Warning, Directional, Construction Signs

These are signs that are required to be installed and maintained by the city for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. The city shall be responsible for all costs of installation, routine maintenance and refurbishing. For extraordinary maintenance such as vandalism, theft damage, etc., the city shall charge for the full cost of replacement to the responsible party and they shall be held responsible according to state and local ordinances.

Special Purpose Signs

Special Purpose signs serve a limited number of citizens needs and are not signs that are required for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. Since the signs benefit only a limited group of people or individuals the city has developed a process for reviewing and approving signs in this category.

In the case of Limited Time Parking Zones, or in the case where the sign is scheduled to be replaced because it has reached the end of its life, the Department of Public Works will notify affected parties. If the limited time zones are still desired, the parties must petition for re-installation of the sign.

In the case that the requested sign is to remind the public of a state law, statute or city ordinance, the Department of Public Works shall install and maintain the sign only after receiving a written request to do so from the City Manager.