171.6 Roadsides

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RDS(A1) Commuter Parking Lots

Refer to EPG 644 Weigh Stations, Rest Areas, Welcome/Information Centers and Commuter Parking Lots for information regarding the design, construction, and maintenance of commuter lots.

RDS(A2) Roadside Maintenance Activities by Others

There are three methods by which non-MoDOT personnel may perform roadside activities on the right of way or on Commission property: by permit, through the Adopt-A-Highway Program and through the Growing Together Program. All of these methods require an agreement between MoDOT and the outside party.

Neighbors should be allowed to mow (without regard to height) the right of way in front of their property if they feel it will enhance the appearance of their property. Refer to EPG 822 Roadside Vegetation Management.

RDS(A3) Wetland Mitigation Areas

To ensure compliance with state and federal executive orders requiring no net loss of wetlands, MoDOT is responsible for compensating unavoidable wetland impacts through wetland restoration, creation or enhancement. Signs stating "Mitigation Area - Do Not Disturb" are used to identify the boundaries of the mitigation area to protect against disturbance. Refer to EPG Maintenance concerning maintenance of wetland mitigation areas.

RDS(A4) Heritage Database Information (HDI)

Refer to EPG 127.27 Guidelines for Obtaining Environmental Clearance for Project Specific Locations.

RDS(A5) Underground Utilities

Utility companies with underground utilities on highway right of way shall be informed when work is planned that will cause a substantial change in grade at the location of the utility. This may involve work such as major slide repair, major slope grading or drainage channel clean out or realignment. (Although One Call should be notified, this action alone does not ensure all utilities will be notified).

171.6.1 Programs

RDS(B1) Adopt-A-Highway

MoDOT establishes and maintains an ongoing cooperative program that encourages individuals, groups and organizations to become involved in litter pickup, mowing and/or beautification of roadside areas. Refer to EPG 824 Adopt-A-Highway and Sponsor-A-Highway Programs for additional information and guidance.

See 7 CSR 10-14.010 - 14.050, Adopt-A-Highway Program. Refer to EPG 141.8 Sponsorship Programs for more information on MoDOT's Sponsorship Policy.


RDS(B3) Growing Together Program

MoDOT cooperates with state and local government groups as well as private groups interested in developing extensive plantings on right of way designed to enhance the appearance of state highways and neighboring communities. Contact the Roadside Section in the Central Office for assistance. Refer to EPG 141.8 Sponsorship Programs for more information on MoDOT's Sponsorship Policy.

RDS(B4) Incarcerated Personnel

Incarcerated personnel are used to improve the roadside environment by undertaking work that is above and beyond normal highway beautification efforts. The intent is to accomplish labor intensive projects not normally accomplished by routine maintenance crews or construction contracts. Refer to EPG 823 Incarcerated Personnel Work Release Program for information.

171.6.2 Rest Areas and Roadside Parks

RDS(C1) Dispensing Free Refreshments

Groups and organizations are permitted to use rest areas and roadside parks to dispense coffee and other nonalcoholic refreshments for the sole purpose of encouraging motorists to take safety breaks during a holiday trip.

All activities must be confined within the rest area or park boundary and away from drives and ramps used for the movement of vehicles. Signing for this activity is provided by MoDOT and organization signs are limited to a small identification sign at the table or vehicle used to dispense refreshments.

Refreshments offered to the traveling public must be free. Donations and contributions for any cause shall not be permitted.

RDS(C2) Rest Area Drinking Water

Refer to EPG Rest Area Drinking Water concerning information about rest area drinking waters.

RDS(C3) Rest Area Sewage Control

Refer to EPG Rest Area Lagoon concerning information about rest area lagoons.

RDS(C4) Roadside Park Requirements

State highway right of way cannot be used for roadside park purposes. Roadside parks are not planned as local parks or overnight camping areas and are not built with toilets, water or electrical supply.

All roadside parks must be approved by the Commission.

RDS(C5) Vending

No vending is allowed in rest areas or on state highway right of way except for vending machines installed by agreement or permit. By law, the Department of Social Services, Division of Family Services, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind has been granted authority to govern and regulate vending in rest areas. When such authority is declined, MoDOT shall develop an agreement or issue a permit with another appropriate agency, organization or association to govern and regulate the vending.

If the Department of Social Services, Division of Family Services, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind elects to assume the authority granted by law to govern and regulate vending assigned to another agency, organization or association, the existing agreements or permits shall be terminated.

MoDOT reserves the right to remove any vending machine from a rest area at vendors cost, if the machine is installed or maintained in violation of established agreements.

171.6.3 Structures

RDS(D1) Right of Way Encroachments

State law allows the commission to prohibit encroachments on state right of way. Right of way encroachment is defined as the placement and/or maintenance of unauthorized items, or the performance of unauthorized activities, on or extending over onto state right of way. Unauthorized items and activities include but are not limited to:

Items Activities
Signs (political, garage sale, etc.) Vehicle parking in restricted areas
Display materials (streamers, balloons, banners) Vending
Trash containers Excavation
Fences Construction

All encroachments that pose a safety hazard to MoDOT personnel or the traveling public shall be addressed immediately. If the encroachment posing a safety hazard is an unauthorized item or activity and can be removed, it shall be removed immediately.

Unauthorized encroachment items removed from the right of way should be stored at the nearest maintenance facility; unclaimed items may be properly disposed after 30 days.

For permanent encroachments involving construction on the right of way, a written notice shall be sent to the owner by the district engineer. If the encroachment is not removed in a timely manner, a “Notice to Remove Encroachment,” including a deadline for removal shall be sent to the owner by the district engineer. If the encroachment is not removed by the specified deadline, the district engineer shall refer the matter to the Chief Counsel’s Office for legal action. Sample encroachment notice letters and encroachment removal letters are available from the State Maintenance Engineer.

Permanent encroachments where the owner cannot be identified shall be removed as soon as possible.

Encroachments that do not pose an immediate safety hazard to MoDOT personnel or the traveling public shall be removed prior to beginning a maintenance activity on the route. However, encroachments may be removed more frequently at the discretion of the Area Engineer. Encroachment removals can be coordinated with litter pickup and other maintenance work such as mowing, edge-rut repairs, crack sealing, etc.

Single-use items generally made of paper and cardboard can be disposed of immediately without notice. Professionally made or reusable items should be stored at the nearest maintenance facility; unclaimed items may be properly disposed after 30 days.

Any holiday decorations placed on or across the state right of way must have a permit signed by personnel designated by the district engineer.

All actions regarding encroachments should be timely and fair.

Notice of Encroachment RDS(D1)A

Removal Notice RDS(D1)B

Unauthorized Items off Roadsides Flier

RDS(D2) Monuments

MoDOT permits approved organizations (State Historical Society of Missouri, Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri and the Daughter's of the American Revolution) to place markers at approved locations along highways within the bounds of rest areas, roadside parks or turnouts. These markers are located for the purpose of honoring service men and women who served in a particular war or to designate points of historical interest.

Placement of markers and tablets requires Commission approval.

Additional information is available from the Roadside Section in the Central Office.

171.6.4 Vegetation Management

RDS(E1) Billboard Visibility

Refer to EPG 236.16.8 Vegetation Removal concerning the management of vegetation around billboards.

RDS(E2) Crops on Right of Way

Refer to EPG 822.7 Hay and Other Crops on the Right of Way.

RDS(E3) Hay Harvesting on Right of Way

Refer to EPG 822.7 Hay and Other Crops on the Right of Way.

RDS(E4) Herbicides

Refer to EPG 821 Herbicides and Roadsides.

RDS(E5) Mowing

Refer to EPG 822 Roadside Vegetation Management.

RDS(E6) Noxious Weed Control

Refer to EPG 821.18 Noxious Weeds.

RDS(E7) Plant Collection from Right of Way

No person shall dig or remove any plants or plant parts from any real property of the Commission or the right of way of any state highway or roadway without permission. Special permits covering the collection of plants and plant parts from highway right of way may be issued by MoDOT. Provided that such plants or plant parts are not offered for sale, the collection of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, edible wild greens or flowering parts of plants, or the occasional collection of plants for the purposes of scientific research or education may be permitted.

Under special circumstances, MoDOT can write a permit, to collect and sell plants or plant parts from right of way. Contact the Roadside Section for information.

RDS(E8) Roadside Burning

Refer to EPG Open Burning for information pertaining to the open burning of materials on MHTC property.

RDS(E9) Tree Removal

Trees located on Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) property are considered state property. Trees on MHTC property that are dead, diseased, deformed or storm damaged, have the potential to create a safety hazard to MHTC personnel as well as the traveling public. Efforts should be made to minimize the potential hazard.

Utility companies should be contacted prior to removing trees under or near utility lines, for possible assistance or removal by their crews. Commercial arborists may be obtained on an agreed price basis for removal of large trees especially where there is a possibility of damage to private property.

Tree trunks and tree limbs may be cut up by department personnel and hauled back to the maintenance building for use as firewood at the maintenance building, or stockpiled at the maintenance site, and ultimately sold per General Services policies concerning the disposal of surplus property. A copy of the “GS22 Bill of Sale – Generic” for the tree trunks and tree limbs sold as surplus property shall be maintained by MoDOT in accordance with the policies pertaining to surplus property disposal.

Tree trunks and tree limbs may be cut into manageable lengths (not less than 2 ft. long and not more than 6 ft. long) and left on the adjacent property owners property at the right of way line for use by the adjacent property owner provided the adjacent property owner has expressed a desire to use the wood. The adjacent property owner shall obtain access to the wood from their own property. The adjacent property owner shall not utilize MHTC right of way to gain access to the wood.

Root-balls associated with tree removals are not considered to be clean fill according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Therefore, root-balls shall not be buried. They may be hauled off to a demolition landfill, or they may be ground up using a tub grinder.

Any burning of tree trunks, tree limbs, or root-balls on the right of way shall be done according to the EPG Open Burning.

Tree stumps anywhere on the right of way shall be cut flush or below ground level. Treatment of tree stumps to prevent re-growth shall be in accordance with EPG 821 Herbicides and Roadsides.

Personnel engaged in the removal of dead, diseased, deformed, or storm damaged, trees shall be trained in the safe operation of chainsaws and other tree trimming devices.

Personnel must also be familiar with the applicable safety guidelines as set forth in MoDOT's Safety Policies, Rules & Regulations.

MoDOT staff shall be in compliance with Personnel Policy # 2700 – Ethical Conduct when disposing of tree trunks and tree limbs. Also, staff should comply with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning protection of Indiana bat tree habitat. Questions regarding Indiana bat trees should be directed to the Environmental Section of Design.

Trees associated with construction projects shall be managed according to the conditions contained in the contract documents.

RDS(E11) National Forest Lands

MoDOT shall coordinate with the Forest Service all maintenance activities which involve additional clearing, slash disposal, chemical control of vegetation, disposal of slough material, changes in road drainage patterns, materials source and storage and similar actions which involve highways through National Forest lands. The Forest Service will assist MoDOT with matters related to equipment parking, material storage, material sources, and designated slough and slide material disposal areas as well as advising the department of any activities that have an impact on highway maintenance.