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Can cities purchase digital speed signs for their streets?

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Question: I was at a city council meeting and discussion was held at the meeting regarding the digital speed signs that appear in some communities. They don't mean the portable signs that are placed on highways at various points by the State - but the digital signs that appear on poles, etc., in communities showing the speed at which vehicles are traveling as they pass by. They wondered if a city could purchase these signs and install them on highways going through their communities. They feel that drivers do pay attention to these signs.

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Answer: According to Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169.06 Sub.3, "Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall place and maintain such traffic-control devices upon highways under their jurisdiction as they may deem necessary to indicate and to carry out the provisions of this chapter or local traffic ordinances, or to regulate, warn, or guide traffic. All such traffic-control devices hereafter erected shall conform to the state manual and specifications."

If this is within a right of way of a State or U.S. Trunk Highway, you will need to contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). There will most likely be a permit process you will need to go through. MnDOT would be better able to explain, but I believe some things taken into consideration would be the traffic and other functional areas if a device may be installed and what possible restrictions would apply. Other issues would be acceptable locations, does the device meet safety requirements (crash tested, brightness, etc.) and who will maintain the device, just to name a few.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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