Chapter 10: Control of Junkyards


Section 1: Introduction

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The State of Texas is responsible for administering two sets of laws relating to the operation of junkyards and automobile salvage yards. The Department of Motor Vehicles regulates the licensing of salvage dealers and the surrender of certificates of title and unexpired license plates. TxDOT’s ROW Division regulates the screening of junkyards and automobile graveyards from Interstate and Primary highways. Junkyards and automobile wrecking and salvage yards may also be subject to screening and/or public nuisance laws enforced by counties or municipalities.

Complaints concerning TxDOT 's regulation of the screening of junkyards from Interstate and Primary highways should be directed to the Texas Department of Transportation, ROW Division.

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The Highway Beautification Act contains provisions for the control of junkyards by the States. The information regarding what is required for a junkyard to be in compliance is located in Transportation Code, Chapter 391, Subchapters A and E. The Texas Transportation Commission has also adopted rules governing the location, planting, construction and maintenance of the materials used in screening junkyards. These rules are published in the 43TAC §§ 21.131 - 21.133, inclusive.

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Controlled Area

The area controlled by TxDOT pursuant to Transportation Code, Chapter 391 is the area within 1,000 feet of the ROW of a controlled highway. The screening of junkyards located more than 1,000 feet from those highways, or along other state highways, is not regulated by the Texas Department of Transportation.

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New Junkyards

No junkyards may be established within 1,000 feet of a controlled highway except:

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  • those located in zoned or unzoned industrial areas; or
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  • those screened by appropriate means, including natural objects, planting, or fences so that the junkyard is not visible from the main traveled way of any controlled highway.

Screening is to be installed and maintained by the junkyard owner and must meet the State's screening standards.

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Existing Junkyards

Junkyards which were in existence on June 29, 1972, and which are outside of zoned or unzoned industrial areas, may continue at such locations until funds are available to the State to either screen the junkyards or to remove, relocate or dispose of them. Although more material may be stored or dumped within the existing boundaries of such junkyards, they may not be expanded within the controlled area to a height above nor to land beyond that which the junkyard encompassed on June 29, 1972, unless such expanded height or area is screened and maintained by the junkyard operator so that the junk in the expanded height or area is not visible to the motoring public traveling in a standard size automobile along the main traveled way of the controlled highway. All screening must meet the State's screening standards.

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