Fairfax to Keep Clearing Illegal Road Signs

by Karen Goff July 9, 2015 at 9:00 am 15 Comments

Median signs/Credit: Fairfax CountyFairfax County says its program to remove distracting and illegal signs from major road medians has been a big success and will continue.

In July 2013, the county instituted a program to have the Sheriff’s Community Labor Force regularly pick up political campaign signs, advertising signs and more every week.

Fairfax officials that crews picked up 14,000 signs countywide the first year and 22,000 signs the second year, marking the program as a success.

Officials plan to expand the program with a second removal crew this year.

The county formerly picked up signs only when there was a complaint. Signs are now picked up on selected roads on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The program covers 63 streets — or about 200 miles of roadway — county officials said. Most are two-lane, divided highways. Locally, that includes Fairfax County Parkway, South Lakes Drive, Sunset Hills Road, Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, among others.

Crews hit each of the 63 roads at least once a month, the county says. After the county removes a sign, it is stored for five calendar days at the I-66 Transfer Station where it may be reclaimed. Signs are destroyed after five days.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is still responsible for road maintenance. However, if a sign on any public road presents a safety hazard, drivers should contact VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD or via their online form.

Median signs/Credit: Fairfax County

  • JG

    yeah so care about signs but dont force VDOT to maintain overgrown medians and sidewalks that make the area look terrible.

    • obxers

      They are using inmates to remove the signs – essentially free labor and it’s productive for the inmates. But there may well be good reasons not to have them using tools to clear the medians, etc., and using VDOT employees for the task would not be free labor. So comparing the two may be apples and oranges. (That’s not to say they shouldn’t be doing it, though, of course.)

      • JP

        It’s not free labor for Fairfax County taxpayers. The county is paying the sheriff’s office. Who are they paying to call the offenders and tell them to pick up their signs? Original estimate for this program was $150,000/year. Fines are already established for illegal signs, so they should be a source of revenue. Instead, taxpayers are footing the bill for this nonsense.

        • obxers

          Thanks for that info. (My thought was more about comparing costs of using inmates v. the cost of paying VDOT employees to perform labor.) I do understand and am fine with some administrative costs, such as driving inmates to various locations, etc., but is the county really paying the sheriff’s office? More than just the costs involved? If so, that’s ridiculous. (And I do also believe offenders – maybe not yard sales and other noncommercial things – should be punished.)

          • JP

            Agree that VDOT employees would probably be more expensive, if they need additional staff. Here is the original staff report on this program. Of course, the county does not include the staff time it took to come up with this brilliant plan in their cost estimate. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2013/sign-removal-staffreport.pdf
            Fairfax County taxpayers (of which I am one) really need to keep an eye on how the county is spending our money. Some of the stuff would surprise (and annoy) you!

  • Ming the Merciless

    “Sheriffs community labor force” sounds so much nicer than “chain gang”.


    Ok , so they care about illegal signs but not illegal immigrants or trash lining the very same streets. Go figure.

  • Patrick Ohara

    we should fine these companies heavily if they continue to trash our roads(which they do)how about $100/per sign for every one they put down,and raise the fine if it continues with the same companies.This would discourage repeat offenders!

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Establish a bounty system. If they pay me even as little as $1/sign, I’d be out there in a heartbeat.

  • Carl G. Shannon

    If they had 1 member of the chain gang remove signs, another use a weed whacker, and a third picking up litter. This area would look immaculate. When they do their tour through Hunters Woods they could visit friends.

  • Robert Mowbray

    Why are “illegal” signs returned? Signs should be destroyed,sign owners should be fined, and fines should be increased for repeat offenders.

  • Robert Mowbray

    The program has not been a “success” if offenders are not punished, and they continue
    to post illegal signs.

  • JP

    The county is spending a lot of taxpayer dollars for this program. When it began they estimated $150,000/ year!! Why are they paying at all?? How about if a cop sees an illegal sign, they call the offender and say “Get your sign off the road by the end of the day or you will be fined $100/ sign.” This fines are already law. Instead, we PAY to have them removed, then STORE them so they can be picked up and used again? Brilliant plan, Fairfax County.

  • libby

    Fairfax Police are way to liberal


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