Recognizing the need of families to grieve in different ways for those killed in crashes, the Arizona Department of Transportation has established a policy allowing memorial markers along state-maintained highways in a way that minimizes risks for motorists, families and ADOT personnel.
Developed with input from community members, the policy specifies a maximum size and establishes standards for materials and placement so markers present less chance of distracting passing drivers or damaging vehicles leaving the roadway.
“We have heard the concerns shared with us and developed this way for families to honor loved ones, and we’ve done it in a way that promotes safety,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Those who have already placed memorials can work with us to keep tributes that meet these requirements and to replace those that don’t.”
A family or its designee should submit a request to the ADOT engineering and maintenance district serving a particular area, providing the intended design and location of a marker honoring a relative killed in a crash. District officials will review requests to make sure they meet requirements including:
· Size and materials: A marker may be up to 30 inches high and 18 inches wide, and the wood or plastic/composite material components used to create it may be up to 2 inches thick and 4 inches wide. It may include a plaque up to 4 inches by 4 inches and up to 1/16 of an inch thick. It may be anchored up to 12 inches in the ground, but not in concrete or metal footings.
· Placement: In consultation with ADOT officials, families will place markers as close as possible to the outer edge of the highway right of way. Markers may only be placed in front of developed property if the property owner gives written permission to the family.
Memorials already along highways may remain if they meet safety standards for placement, size and materials. However, those who placed them must contact the ADOT district office serving that area and identify themselves as contacts should the memorials ever have to be moved.
Memorials that haven’t been approved by ADOT or that don’t meet the policy’s safety standards for placement, size and materials will be tagged with notices giving those who placed them 60 days to remove the items. After that, the memorials will be removed after ADOT personnel document and photograph their contents and leave a notice saying where the memorial items may be picked up.
ADOT will continue to remove without notice any memorial that presents a hazard and will leave notice of where the items can be picked up. Memorials that are removed will be stored for at least 60 days at the nearest ADOT maintenance yard.
More information on roadside memorials and contact information for ADOT engineering and maintenance districts is available at azdot.gov/memorials.