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 a loved one. 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.