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LIMA, Ohio (Monday, March 5, 2018) - Putting up a mailbox, installing a driveway or cleaning out a ditch are all normal activities property owners routinely undertake. But if done improperly and without the permission of the Ohio Department of Transportation, serious legal ramifications could result.
“We are urging property owners to contact us before they do any type of work along a state highway. It’s much better to work with us ahead of a project rather than create a problem that requires reversal,” said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.
The following are the most common kinds of activities that can sometimes conflict with state requirements. Please contact your local ODOT District 1 garage at the numbers provided regarding any work within highway right of way. District 1 includes the counties of Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot.
.Driveways – A permit must be obtained from ODOT prior to a driveway being installed along a state highway. Proper spacing from existing driveways and intersections, width requirements and the size of drainage pipe needed beneath the drive must be determined prior to installation. Contact your local ODOT garage for guidance and to initiate the permit process.
.Mailboxes – Mailboxes can be a roadside hazard if guidelines for mailbox placement and type are not adhered to. Visit the United States Postal Service for guidance at: https://www.usps.com/manage/mailboxes.htm.
.Ditch cleaning – Before performing any work in or along a ditch, check with the local ODOT garage to ensure the waterway is not located within highway right of way. Strict environmental regulations must be followed when working within a state-controlled waterway. A permit is required prior to this type of work taking place.
.Snow removal – Snow removed from a private driveway and placed onto a highway is in violation of Ohio Revised Code. Placing anything on the highway could be dangerous to motorists in that they may hit these obstructions and lose control of their vehicle. The offense is considered a first degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
.Farming – Property owners should know where highway right of way begins in relation to a farm field. It’s easy to unknowingly creep over the line when working fields, which can lead to maintenance issues for highway personnel. Consult the local ODOT garage to establish boundaries.
.Drainage – ODOT personnel can provide guidance on the proper placement and size of pipe along farm fields, along lawns and under driveways. A permit is required before this type of work can take place.
.Signage – It is illegal to place anything within highway right of way without permission of ODOT. Signs placed within highway right of way that obstruct the view of motorists will be removed. As a general rule, anything placed behind utility poles is outside of highway right of way; however, permission from private property owners should be received prior to placing any sign. 
“We are a resource for property owners at any time. If work is being performed along a state highway or there’s any question as to what is permissible, contact ODOT before to be sure the project is not in violation of state requirements,” said Slusher.
For information regarding permits contact Duane Hackworth, ODOT District 1, at 419-999-6843; duane.hackworth@dot.ohio.gov.
Or visit the District 1 permits website at: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D01/PlanningPrograms/permits/Pages/default.aspx

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