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Road Signs

Alaska law prohibits the placement of outdoor advertising along state highways. The State of Alaska Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing this law. "Outdoor advertising may not be erected or maintained within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way or visible from the main traveled way of the interstate, primary, or secondary highways in this state" unless the advertising meets one of five specific exceptions set out in AS 19.25.105, AS 19.25.90. Furthermore, outdoor advertising may not be erected or maintained beyond 660 feet from the edge of the right-of-way if the message is intended to be read by those traveling on the highway unless one of the five specific exceptions is met. AS 19.25.105(c). Finally, outdoor advertising may not be placed within highway rights-of-way. AS 19.25.105(d)

The law's broad definition of outdoor advertising includes political signs. "Outdoor advertising" includes any outdoor sign, display, or device used to advertise, attract attention or inform ... whether by printing, writing, painting, picture, light, drawing, or whether by the use of figures or objects, or a combination of these, or any other thing designed, intended, or used to advertise, inform, or attract attention." AS 19.25.160(3)

Two of the exceptions specified in AS 19.25.105(a) may allow certain political signs to be placed near a highway right-of-way. The first exception allows outdoor advertising to "advertise activities conducted on the property." AS 19.25.105(a)(2). This allows a campaign to place a political sign on the premises of the campaign office. The second exception allows for outdoor advertising on bus benches, bus shelters, and adjacent trash receptacles. AS 19.25.105(a)(5) and AS 19.25.105(d)(1)

A person who violates the prohibition on outdoor advertising in AS 19.25.105 is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of between $50 and $5,000. AS 19.25.130

Note that AS 19.25.105 only applies to outdoor advertising near interstate, primary, or secondary highways. Local governments may have additional provisions relating to outdoor advertising near other types of roads in their jurisdictions.

If a sign is placed within a highway right-of-way and obstructs a state highway or road or amounts to a visual obstruction of or safety hazard on a state highway or road, the sign may be immediately removed by the Department of Transportation. AS 19.25.240

If the Department of Transportation confiscates a sign for encroachment, the sign may be recovered from the department only after it's owner pays the department for (1) the expense of removing the encroaching sign; (2) all costs and expenses paid by the state as a result of claims filed against the state related to the encroachment; and (3) the state's costs and expenses of suit. AS 19.25.250

If you are in doubt concerning the state right-of-way in a given area, please contact the appropriate regional office of the Statewide Design and Engineering Services Division, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for information:

Central Region / Anchorage: 269-0700 or 800-770-5263

Northern Region / Fairbanks: 451-5400 or 800-475-2464

Southeast Region / Juneau: 465-4540 or 800-575-4540

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