Recall season has been a busy time for the state DOT. Deb Brucaya with the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Highway Maintenance says this has been an election cycle like no other, when it comes to political signs placed in highway right-of-ways. “We have been receiving many complaints from people throughout the state, reporting that signs that they think are in the right-of-way are presenting a danger to motorists,” she says. “No sign can be placed within the highway right-of-way under Wisconsin’s laws other than officials signs such as stop signs and speed limit signs.” Others, including signs for political candidates, homes for sale, and garage sales, must be on private property.
“The number of callers, the number of senders of e-mails has decidedly risen. It’s far more pronounced than it has been in previous election cycles,” says Brucaya. “Most of the callers and the writers are very civil. But some folks get very impassioned and are difficult to deal with. Some people even become, well . . . let’s just leave it at that.”
Brucaya says the calls and e-mails have been coming to her office, as well as to regional DOT offices around the state, resulting in extra work for the agency, since every complaint needs to be checked out. “We’re all obligated to look into any sign that’s reported as possibly being located not on private property, but instead on the highway right-of-way. It does take additional time to look into each of those.”