State signs to replace roadside memorials

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to remove roadside memorials for people killed in traffic accidents and launch a program to erect memorial signs along highway rights of way.

Beginning Sept. 16, DOT workers will remove nonregulation memorials, which will be held for 30 days.

The new Memorial Sign Program is part of the state's driving safety efforts.

Memorial signs are available for victims of fatal accidents caused by a drunk driver and victims of accidents not caused by drunk drivers. Signs also may be sponsored by relatives of drunk drivers killed in highway crashes.

''Many of the memorials -- the little white crosses and such -- that people put up are put up in medians and places that just aren't safe,'' DOT spokesman Murph O'Brien told the Peninsula Clarion.

Individuals wishing to sponsor a memorial sign for friends or loved ones fatally injured in a highway accident may submit an application to the state.

Signs memorializing the victim of a drunk driver or signs sponsored by family or friends of a drunk driver who lost his or her life, are 30 inches by 36 inches with white lettering on a blue background. The sign says, ''Please Don't Drink And Drive.''

Below the sign is a plaque that says either, ''In Memory Of'' followed by the victim's name, or ''Sponsored By'' the family's name.

Signs memorializing victims of accidents not caused by drunk drivers are 30 inches by 30 inches with the message, ''Please Drive Safely'' printed in white letters on a blue background.

Below that is a 30-inch-by-12-inch plaque that reads, ''In Memory Of,'' followed by the victim's name.

In accidents with more than one victim, additional small plaques will be attached to the same signpost beneath the name of the first victim or sponsor.

The signs -- free to sponsors -- are to be placed near the scene of the accident at least 200 feet from all existing traffic signs. They should not obstruct the visibility of those signs. The memorial signs will be installed on the right shoulder facing traffic.

The state will order and install the signs and retain ownership.

The new signs, which may remain in place for 10 years, will be the only memorials allowed within the state highway right of way.

Applications for the memorials can be obtained from the regional office of DOT nearest to where the accident occurred.

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