Alaska DOT is cruising Juneau for offending campaign signs

This 2014 file photo from a political campaign season of yore, shows a Lemon Creek business that’s either conflicted or hedging its bets. (File photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

State laws forbids political campaign signs along state-maintained roads. The law forbids placing campaign signs, including lawn signs, anywhere in the right-of-way. That often includes around mailboxes and the entrance of driveways.

Crews from the state Department of Transportation are confiscating signs.

“If it’s a simple lawn sign it’s just $50 flat fee to get it back – if you want it back,” said Emily Haynes, a right-of-way agent for DOT in Juneau. “If it’s something much larger that takes a lot of personnel time or equipment then we will charge whatever that amount is.”

Technically, campaign signs on private property shouldn’t be visible from the road. But Haynes said it’s those deliberately placed to catch drivers’ attention that DOT is targeting.

“If we’re driving on the road and we see a sign that’s on your property and it’s directed towards the road and not people visiting you, then it’s just a safety concern,” she said. “People get distracted when they’re driving, especially with flashy signs faced at them.”

The state’s jurisdiction covers much of Juneau’s road system. That includes main arteries like Egan Drive and Douglas Highway. But also rural roads like Lena Loop and Fritz Cove.

But Haynes said back roads aren’t a priority.

“Higher speed, higher traffic roads are targeted first for any sort of enforcement,” Haynes said, “and honestly that usually takes up all of our time.”

Property owners who receive a notice of a violating sign on their property have 30 days to remove it without being fined. There’s about two weeks left until Juneau’s Oct. 3 election.

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