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Section 3: Authorized Signs on the Right of Way

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Policy for Temporary Signs for Special Events

Under the provisions of Texas Administrative Code, Title 43, Rule §22.15, the department may authorize the temporary placement and maintenance of a sign on state highway for special events.

  • A special event is defined as an event serving a public purpose and sponsored by a civic or non-profit organization. This includes, but is not limited to, fairs, festivals, bicycle events, marathons, walkathons, rodeos and charitable fund-raising events, but does not include political events or events that could be construed to advocate or oppose a candidate for election or influence the passage or defeat of a measure on an election ballot.
  • A sign is any outdoor sign, display, light, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, plaque, poster or other thing that is designed, intended or used to advertise or inform.
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Sign Requirements and Restrictions

Temporary special event signs are subject to the following conditions:

  • A sign approved for placement under this section may not:
    • exceed 16 square feet if placed on the roadside to inform the traveling public
    • exceed four square feet if used to guide participants in a bicycle or pedestrian event
    • extend more than three feet past the pavement edge if the sign is a banner
    • imitate or resemble any official traffic sign, signal or device.
  • Sign Material—A sign approved for placement under this section should be constructed of heavy cardboard, plastic, fabric mesh or plywood no thicker than 1/4 inch. The sign supports should be approved by the district engineer.
  • Sign Location—A sign approved for placement under this section should be placed as far from the edge of the pavement as possible, and should not be placed:
    • in a location where it may prevent the driver of a vehicle from having a clear and unobstructed view of official signs and approaching or merging traffic
    • on any highway appurtenance, including, but not limited to, bridges, traffic control devices, official signs, sign supports, light standards, poles and delineators
    • on any tree or other natural feature
    • less than 18½ feet above the pavement if the sign is a banner placed over the pavement
    • closer to the pavement edge than official highway signs, except for signs used to guide participants in a bicycle or pedestrian event, which should be placed no less than one foot from the edge of the pavement.

A special event sign location will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. A sign approved for placement under this section for a special event may not be placed more than 24 hours before the event; however; a banner may be installed no more than 30 days before the event. All signs should comply with the following standards:

  • Text of the Sign—A sign approved for placement for a special event under this section should not contain commercial advertising but may identify the event's sponsor by name and the sponsor's trademark. The name of the event's sponsor and the sponsor's trademark should be displayed less conspicuously than the activity.
  • Lighting—A sign approved for placement under this section may not display lighting.
  • Banner Supports—A banner not placed on existing utility poles should be placed on supports which comply with the safety standards of the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the latest version of the Barricade and Construction Standard Sheets (published by the Traffic Operations Division) and must be approved by department personnel before installation.
  • Sign Removal—The applicant should remove surface mounted signs within 24 hours of the completion of the event. Banners should be removed within seven days of the completion of the event. A special event sign not removed in compliance with this sub-section is subject to removal by the department, and the applicant is liable for removal and disposal costs. If a sign becomes a hazard due to inclement weather, inadequate maintenance, accidental damage or other cause, the department will remove the sign.
  • Maintenance—The sign should be maintained by the owner in compliance with all requirements of the application. The department may remove signs not maintained in accordance with the application, and the applicant is liable for removal and disposal costs.
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  • Exceptions—The district engineer may waive one or more of the requirements of this section consistent with applicable law. In that case, he or she must specify the public benefits resulting from the sign placement by written order.
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Application

Signs may be authorized when the signs will inform the public of a special event that is open to the public. Application for these signs should be made on the Form 2057 "Application for Use of State of Texas Right of Way for Temporary Signs for Special Events". The requirements for placement of both surface mounted signs and banners are included in the application.

The area engineer may approve the application, subject to any additional terms and conditions deemed necessary to protect the safety of the traveling public, by signing and returning to the applicant a copy of the application. The area engineer should request additional information when necessary to make his or her determination. If the area engineer does not approve the request, he or she will send written notice describing the basis for the determination.

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Policy for Use of Highway Right of Way for Permanent Signs Attached to a Building Outside the Right of Way

Transportation Code Section §392.0325 authorizes a person to request department approval to maintain certain signs that are attached to a building located off state highway right of way, but where the sign itself encroaches onto state highway right of way. Following Texas Administrative Code, Title 43, Rule §22.16, a person may request approval by submitting an application to the local TxDOT district office. The requestor should complete the "Application and Agreement for Use of Highway Right of Way for Permanent Signs Attached to a Building Outside the Right of Way" (Form 2058), along with all applicable items requested in the document. After the district office has recommended approval, the applicant should sign the agreement and forward it along with all applicable items to the Maintenance Division (MNT) director for final approval.

For the purposes of the application, a sign is a sign or awning that will:

  • encroach on state highway right of way
  • be attached to a building located on property other than state highway right of way;
  • refer to a commercial activity or business located in the building
  • contain wording that consists solely of the name of the establishment, identifies the establishment's principal product or services, or advertises the sale or lease of the property on which the sign is located.

A historic sign is a sign as defined above that is attached to and is a contributing feature of a historic building or structure.

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Requirements and Restrictions for Encroaching Permanent Signs

When securing an agreement for permanent signs to encroach on the right of way from a building off the right of way, the requestor must supply the following proof of compliance:

  • a brief statement about the historic significance of the sign and of the building or structure (if any) to which the sign is attached
  • detailed plans (initial procedure, materials, equipment and workforce) for the installation and maintenance of the sign
  • a traffic control plan (if required by TxDOT) that incorporates the requirements contained in the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, if it will be necessary to use state highway right of way to install or maintain the sign
  • any additional information necessary for TxDOT to properly evaluate the request.

All costs to collect information or performances are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

When considering the request, the MNT director will take into account the historic significance of the sign and the building or structure to which it is attached. The director will approve a request submitted if it is:

  • determined that the sign will not constitute a safety hazard
  • determined that the sign will not interfere with the construction, reconstruction, operation or maintenance of the highway facility
  • approved by the Federal Highway Administration, if approval is required under federal law.

The MNT director may not approve a request if the sign:

  • is attached in any manner to a structure on the right of way;
  • encroaches into the clear zone as defined by the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
  • encroaches on right of way that is scheduled for future construction or rehabilitation in TxDOT's Unified Transportation Program
  • has utilities located above or below the proposed sign
  • will distract drivers from direction or other official signs authorized by law
  • will unduly distract the traveling public.

If a request is denied, a written notice describing the basis for the determination will be provided to the applicant. A person denied approval may file an appeal with the Executive Director. The decision of the Executive Director is final.

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