BERLIN — Travelers across Worcester County and the Lower Shore can expect to see far fewer illegally-placed signs along state highways next week when a new law prohibiting their placement and allowing state and local governments to recuperate the cost of removing them goes into effect on Jan. 1.
Passed during the 2011 General Assembly session, the new law created a three-month warning period beginning in October for the removal of illegal signs along state-maintained roadways. Starting Jan. 1, the warning period is over and state and local crews will begin removing illegal signs and issuing $25 fines.
Along state highways, including interstates, U.S. and Maryland numbered routes, private signs are prohibited in the medians and along the sides on the public property or “right-of-way.” The illegal signs are often found attached to utility poles or stacked together on wooden posts littering medians.
“Illegal signs can become roadway debris and hazards for drivers, endanger or hinder maintenance crews and clog drainage systems,” said Acting Administrator and Deputy Transportation Secretary Darrell B. Mobley. “We appreciate the economic benefit of local businesses and the need to advertise. Business owners can work with SHA through partnerships that support branding including logo and sponsorship programs and of course, advertising through existing billboards.”