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Section 3: Mailbox Placement Considerations

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Introduction

Proper placement of mailbox supports is the key to reasonable ease of service by postal carriers and the safety of carriers and other motorists. There are three placement considerations for mailboxes: the height of the mailbox above the road or shoulder surface, the lateral offset from the edge of the road, and the longitudinal placement within a turnout or from an intersection.

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Placement Adjacent to Paved (All-Weather) Surface

A new mailbox should not be installed unless is it accessible from a paved (all-weather) surface.

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Longitudinal Placement

Longitudinal mailbox placement relates to the distance between a mailbox and: other mailboxes, the beginning or end of the mailbox turnout, and an intersection (if the mailbox installation is close to an intersection).

  • Distance between Individual Mailboxes and Mailbox Installations: There should be a separation of approximately 2 ft between single and multiple mount mailboxes or between a single/double mailbox installation and a multiple mailbox installation. There should be approximately 4 ft between adjacent multiple mailbox installations. Figure 9-1 illustrates mailbox separation distances.
  • Road with Mailbox Turnout: There should be a minimum of 14 ft from the mailbox to the beginning of the 8 ft wide all weather surface and a desirable distance of 6 ft from the last mailbox to the end of the 8 ft wide all weather surface. Figure 9-2 illustrates the longitudinal placement within a mailbox turnout.
  • Intersections: Mailbox placement at intersections depends on whether the through road has a speed of less than 55 mph or 55 mph or greater. See Figures 9-3 and 9-4 for mailbox locations near a rural intersection for these two cases.

Approximate Distance between Mailbox Installations (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-1. Approximate Distance between Mailbox Installations

Mailbox Longitudinal Placement within a Mailbox Turnout (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-2. Mailbox Longitudinal Placement within a Mailbox Turnout

Mailbox Placement at Rural Locations: Through Highway Speed ≥ 55
mph (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-3. Mailbox Placement at Rural Locations: Through Highway Speed ≥ 55 mph

Mailbox Placement at Rural Locations: Through Highway Speed
< 55 mph (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-4. Mailbox Placement at Rural Locations: Through Highway Speed < 55 mph

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Lateral Offset from Access Point

The lateral offset of the mailbox should be close enough to the shoulder or curb or other access location to allow the mail carrier to deliver mail from the mail vehicle. This distance is a function of the road cross section. Figures 9-5 and 9-6 illustrate the lateral placement of mailboxes. There are three conditions for lateral offset of mailboxes:

  • Delivery to front side: Mailbox is installed so that mail can be accessed from an all-weather surface or terrain adjacent to the travel lane. See Figure 9-5.
  • Delivery to back side: Mailbox is installed so that the mail can be accessed from an all-weather surface or terrain on the side of the mailbox away from the travel way. See Figure 9-6.
  • Delivery near right-of-way line: Mailbox is installed near the right-of-way line and accessed from an all-terrain surface. This type of installation is associated with an NDCBU, which is installed by the Post Office.

Lateral Placement for Delivery to the Front Side (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-5. Lateral Placement for Delivery to the Front Side

Lateral Placement for Delivery to the Back Side (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-6. Lateral Placement for Delivery to the Back Side

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Height

The base of the mailbox should be installed at a typical height of 42 inches above the outside edge of the travel lane, shoulder, or turnout. Figure 9-7 illustrates the height of mailboxes.

Height of Mailbox (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 9-7. Height of Mailbox

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