FEDERAL-AID POLICY GUIDE
December 9, 1991, Transmittal 1
23 CFR 750B
SUBCHAPTER H - RIGHT-OF-WAY AND ENVIRONMENT
PART 750 - HIGHWAY BEAUTIFICATION
Subpart B - National Standards for Directional and Official Signs
750.154 Standards for directional signs.
750.155 State standards.
Subpart C - [Reserved]
Sec. 750.151 Purpose.
(a) In section 131 of title 23, United States Code, Congress has declared that:
(1) The erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices in areas adjacent to the Interstate System and the primary system should be controlled in order to protect the public investment in such highways, to promote safety and recreational value of public travel, and to preserve natural beauty.
(2) Directional and official signs and notices, which signs and notices shall include, but not be limited to, signs and notices pertaining to natural wonders, scenic and historical attractions, which are required or authorized by law, shall conform to national standards authorized to be promulgated by the Secretary, which standards shall contain provisions concerning the lighting, size, number and spacing of signs, and such other requirements as may be appropriate to implement the section.
(b) The standards in this part are issued as provided inSection 131 of title 23, United States Code.
[38 FR 16044, June 30, 1973, as amended at 40 FR 21934, May 20, 1975]
Sec. 750.152 Application.
The following standards apply to directional and official signs and notices located within six hundred and sixty (660) feet of the right-of-way of the Interstate and Federal-aid primary systems and to those located beyond six hundred and sixty (660) feet of the right-of-way of such systems, outside of urban areas, visible from the main traveled way of such systems and erected with the purpose of their message being read from such main traveled way. These standards do not apply to directional and official signs erected on the highway right-of-way.
[40 FR 21934, May 20, 1975]
Sec. 750.153 Definitions.
For the purpose of this part:
(a) Sign means an outdoor sign, light, display, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or other thing which is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform, any part of the advertising or informative contents of which is visible from any place on the main traveled way of the Interstate or Federal-aid primary highway.
(b) Main traveled way means the through traffic lanes of the highway, exclusive of frontage roads, auxiliary lanes, and ramps.
(c) Interstate System means the National System of Interstate and Defence Highways described in Section 103(d) of title 23, United States Code.
(d) Primary system means the Federal-aid highway system described in Section 103(b) of title 23, United States Code.
(e) Erect means to construct, build, raise, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw, or in any other waybring into being or establish.
(f) Maintain means to allow to exist.
(g) Scenic area means any area of particular scenic beauty or historical significance as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction thereof, and includes interests in land which have been acquired for the restoration, preservation, and enhancement of scenic beauty.
(h) Parkland means any publicly owned land which is designated or used as a public park, recreation area, wildlife or waterfowl refuge or historic site.
(I) Federal or State law means a Federal or State constitutional provision or statute, or an ordinance, rule, or regulation enacted or adopted by a State or Federal agency or a political subdivision of a State pursuant to a Federal or State constitution or statute.
(j) Visible means capable of being seen (whether or not legible) without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.
(k) Freeway means a divided arterial highway for through traffic with full control of access.
(l) Rest area means an area or site established and maintained within or adjacent to the highway right-of-way by or under public supervision or control for the convenience of the traveling public.
(m) Directional and official signs and notices includes only official signs and notices, public utility signs, service club and religious notices, public service signs, and directional signs.
(n) Official signs and notices means signs and notices erected and maintained by public officers or public agencies within their territorial or zoning jurisdiction and pursuant to and in accordance with direction or authorization contained in Federal, State, or local law for the purposes of carrying out an official duty or responsibility. Historical markers authorized by State law and erected by State or local government agencies or nonprofit historical societies may be considered official signs.
(o) Public utility signs means warning signs, informational signs, notices, or markers which are customarily erected and maintained by publicly or privately owned public utilities, as essential to their operations.
(p) Service club and religious notices means signs and notices, whose erection is authorized by law, relating tomeetings of nonprofit service clubs or charitable associations, or religious services, which signs do not exceed 8 square feet in area.
(q) Public service signs means signs located on school bus stop shelters, which signs:
(1) Identify the donor, sponsor, or contributor of said shelters;
(2) Contain public service messages, which shall occupy not less than 50 percent of the area of the sign;
(3) Contain no other message;
(4) Are located on schoolbus shelters which are authorized or approved by city, county, or State law, regulation, or ordinance, and at places approved by the city, county, or State agency controlling the highway involved; and
(5) May not exceed 32 square feet in area. Not more than one sign on each shelter shall face in any one direction.
(r) Directional signs means signs containing directional information about public places owned or operated by Federal, State, or local governments or their agencies; publicly or privately owned natural phenomena, historic, cultural, scientific, educational, and religious sites; and areas of natural scenic beauty or naturally suited for outdoor recreation, deemed to be in the interest of the traveling public.
(s) State means any one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico.
(t) Urban area means an urbanized area or, in the case of an urbanized area encompassing more than one State, that part of the urbanized areas in each such State, or an urban place as designated by the Bureau of the Census having a population of five thousand or more and not within any urbanized area, within boundaries to be fixed by responsible State and local officials in cooperation with each other, subject to approval by the Secretary.Such boundaries shall, as a minimum, encompass the entire urban place designated by the Bureau of the Census.
[38 FR 16044, June 30, 1973, as amended at 40 FR 21934, May 20, 1975]
Sec. 750.154 Standards for directional signs.
The following apply only to directional signs:
(a) General. The following signs are prohibited:
(1) Signs advertising activities that are illegal under Federal or State laws or regulations in effect at the location of those signs or at the location of those activities.
(2) Signs located in such a manner as to obscure or otherwise interfere with the effectiveness of an official traffic sign, signal, or device, or obstruct or interfere with the driver's view of approaching, merging, or intersecting traffic.
(3) Signs which are erected or maintained upon trees or painted or drawn upon rocks or other natural features.
(4) Obsolete signs.
(5) Signs which are structurally unsafe or in disrepair.
(6) Signs which move or have any animated or moving parts.
(7) Signs located in rest areas, parklands or scenic areas.
(b) Size.(1) No sign shall exceed the following limits:
(I) Maximum area - 150 square feet.
(ii) Maximum height - 20 feet.
(iii) Maximum length - 20 feet.
(2) All dimensions include border and trim, but exclude supports.
(c) Lighting. Signs may be illuminated, subject to the following:
(1) Signs which contain, include, or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent, or moving light or lights are prohibited.
(2) Signs which are not effectively shielded so as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the traveled way of an Interstate or primary highway or which are of such intensity orbrilliance as to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or which otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle are prohibited.
(3) No sign may be so illuminated as to interfere with the effectiveness of or obscure an official traffic sign, device, or signal.
(d) Spacing. (1) Each location of a directional sign must be approved by the State highway department.
(2) No directional sign may be located within 2,000 feet of an interchange, or intersection at grade along the Interstate System or other freeways (measured along the Interstate or freeway from the nearest point of the beginning or ending of pavement widening at the exit from or entrance to the main traveled way).
(3) No directional sign may be located within 2,000 feet of a rest area, parkland, or scenic area.
(4)(i) No two directional signs facing the same direction of travel shall be spaced less than 1 mile apart;
(ii) Not more than three directional signs pertaining to the same activity and facing the same direction of travel may be erected along a single route approaching the activity;
(iii) Signs located adjacent to the Interstate System shall be within 75 air miles of the activity; and
(iv) Signs located adjacent to the primary system shall be within 50 air miles of the activity.
(e) Message content. The message on directional signs shall be limited to the identification of the attraction or activity and directional information useful to the traveler in locating the attraction, such as mileage, route numbers, or exit numbers. Descriptive words or phrases, and pictorial or photographic representations of the activity or its environs are prohibited.
(f) Selection method and criteria. (1) Privately ownedactivities or attractions eligible for directional signing are limited to the following: natural phenomena; scenic attractions; historic, educational, cultural, scientific, and religious sites; and outdoor recreational areas.
(2) To be eligible, privately owned attractions or activities must be nationally or regionally known, and of outstanding interest to the traveling public.
(3) Each State shall develop specific selection methods and criteria to be used in determining whether or not an activity qualifies for this type of signing. A statement as to selection methods and criteria shall be furnished to the Secretary of Transportation before the State permits the erection of any such signs under section 131(c) of title 23, United States Code, and this part.
Sec. 750.155 State standards.
This part does not prohibit a State from establishing and maintaining standards which are more restrictive with respect to directional and official signs and notices along the Federal-aid highway systems than these national standards.
[38 FR 16044, June 20, 1973, as amended at 40 FR 21934, May 20, 1975]
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