Loss of life from a traffic crash has a devastating impact on families and friends of the victim. A loved one is suddenly no longer with us. Jackson County Roads and county road maintenance employees understand the distressing shock of such a loss of life. We also recognize that some people grieve by placing a memorial within a road right-of-way near the crash site.
While the department acknowledges the need some people feel to express themselves in this way, the placement of memorials within a roadway’s right-of-way is not allowed under county ordinance. Roadside memorials may also be a safety hazard.
What can be done?
Current policy for the department is to remove a memorial as soon as possible if it poses a safety concern. For example:
- If it interferes with roadway safety features or vision
- If it negatively impacts the free flow of traffic
- If it would be a hazard should it be hit
A memorial will also be removed if:
- It interferes with routine maintenance
- It falls into disrepair
- If it is offensive to the public or in poor taste
When the department becomes aware of a memorial, the department will investigate to determine whether immediate removal is necessary. If the memorial is removed, the county will store the materials for 30 days at a county road department facility where they can be retrieved.
The department strongly encourages grieving parties who wish to place a memorial near the site of the fatal crash to work with an adjoining landowner to designate an appropriate location, off a road’s right-of-way, for placement of a memorial.
Adopting a roadway as an alternative
As an alternative form of memorial, the department allows friends and family to adopt a road segment under the Adopt-a-Road program with signage that notes that the highway has been adopted in memory of…. The sign is installed by the department in compliance with standards. The benefits of this approach are that the deceased can be recognized in a manner that conforms to policy and allows mourners to positively affect Jackson County’s roadsides.
Safety is the department’s highest priority
No one wants to see a subsequent tragedy result from a previous incident. For safety’s sake, statutes require that only items that perform a specific highway function are allowed within a road right-of-way.
Mourners who stop to maintain a roadside memorial not only may place themselves in danger, but they may also put other motorists at risk. Please park in a designated parking area or other safe area when visiting or maintaining a roadside memorial.
For further information you may contact our office.