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Section 2: Authority to Install Signs

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Legal Authority

Section 544.002 of the Texas Transportation Code grants the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) authority to place (install) and maintain (or provide for such placement and maintenance) traffic control devices on state highways in accordance with the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD). The same section grants local jurisdictions the same authority on highways under their jurisdiction. Except as provided by Section 545.3561, local authorities may not place or maintain traffic control devices on highways under the jurisdiction of TxDOT without TxDOT’s permission.

If TxDOT grants permission, the city must meet the requirements of the TMUTCD and crash worthiness requirements as per National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 or the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH).

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Payment by Others for Installation of Traffic Control Devices

With certain exceptions, Title 43 of the Texas Administrative Code, Section 25.6, requires that all installation of, maintenance of, and changes to traffic control devices along designated routes of the state highway system be at the expense of TxDOT. Exceptions include the following:

Agreements. Provisions of an agreement executed with a local jurisdiction may delegate responsibilities for installation or maintenance of traffic control devices to others.

Guide Sign Change. When a guide sign change is required on the main lanes of a freeway, TxDOT may charge the cost of the change to others when all the following conditions are satisfied:

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  • The facility on which the change is requested has already been signed to interstate standards.
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  • The requested sign change involves the addition of a name for a previously unnamed road or street, or a change in the name of a city street or county road that resulted from the official action of the city or county governing body.
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  • The requested change in name cannot be accomplished within the available space on the existing sign, or requires changes in the sign support.
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  • The requested sign changes are requested to be made prior to the time the affected signs require maintenance replacement.

Temporary Signs for Special Events. Procedures for use of temporary signs for Special Events can be found in Chapter 3 of the Use of Right of Way by Others Manual.

City Pride Signs. The City Pride Sign Program (CPSP) allows cities to install and maintain a sign (at city expense) near the city limits sign. Attachment signs on the City Pride sign display the names of civic organizations and other messages determined by the city. The program is intended to remove non-official signing from TxDOT sign supports. See Chapter 8 for more information.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Signs. The CPSP rules also allow TCEQ signs to be placed on a separate, independent (non-TxDOT) sign support in addition to the City Pride Sign. See Chapter 8 for more information.

Memorial Sign Program for Victims of Impaired Driving and Motorcycle Crashes. The Memorial Sign Program gives family or friends of victims of motorcycle or impaired driving crashes the opportunity to purchase a sign to be placed near the site of the crash. Each Memorial Sign, bearing the name(s) of the victim(s), serves to commemorate loved ones while raising awareness of these serious issues. For other fatal crashes, a Memorial Marker may be installed within the right-of-way. See Chapter 3, Section 10 of the Use of Right of Way by Others Manual (Maintenance Collection).

Memorial Designation Highway Signs. Memorial highways are designated by the Texas Legislature and by local governmental entities to memorialize organizations or deceased individuals. TxDOT decides on the placement sites. See Chapter 7 for more information.

Other City Maintained Signs. A Municipal Maintenance Agreement between the State and the City is required to maintain, control, supervise, assist and regulate State highways within and through its corporate limits. See Chapter 5, Section 2 of the Maintenance Management Manual.

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Illegal Traffic Control Devices

Traffic control devices on public highways, roads, and streets are unenforceable if placed by anyone other than a public authority. Unofficial or nonstandard devices are legally prohibited in all jurisdictions in Texas.

The installation of signs or other devices that hide from view or otherwise interfere with the effectiveness of any traffic control device or railroad sign or signal is likewise prohibited. Procedures for removal of illegal signs can be found in Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Use of Right of Way by Others Manual (Maintenance Collection).

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