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What’s up with missing road signs, campaign signs affixed to DOT posts?

Cecil Hester
Derrick Hickey affixes his signs to DOT signposts using plastic ties. Photo by Si Cantwell

Derrick Hickey affixes his signs to DOT signposts using plastic ties. Photo by Si Cantwell

Q. I would like to know when the road signs are going to be replaced at Sanders and River roads. They were knocked down by vehicles and taken away by DOT about a month ago and never replaced. This is a dangerous intersection needs all the signage replaced. Also, Derrick Hickey has secured his political signs to the DOT signposts with plastic tie wraps. I am sure this is against the law and they should be removed immediately. Thanks

A. The N.C. Department of Transportation has conducted a site visit to the area of River Road and Sanders Road in Wilmington and did find that one “Keep Right” sign was missing, said George D. Eckart, assistant division traffic engineer for N.C. DOT.

He said DOT regularly replaces signs that are damaged and/or missing and also welcomes the public’s input in order to make the road system as safe and efficient as possible for all users.

The most efficient way for citizens to make an inquiry or submit a comment about state-maintained roads is to use one of the methods found on the following webpage: www.ncdot.gov/contact.

On that page, there are options for calling, emailing, searching for an employee, etc. By using this system, the citizen’s specific concern can be routed to the office that can provide the most expeditious response.

As to the legality of New Hanover county commissioner candidate Derrick Hickey’s signs, Eckart said political campaign signs are allowed on N.C. DOT right-of-way, with several limitations, under the N.C. General Statute 136-32.

Compliant signs are allowed to be posted during the period beginning on the 30th day before the beginning date of “one-stop” early voting under G.S. 163-227.2 and ending on the 10th day after the primary or election day.

He said he sees nothing in the statute forbidding a candidate from using zip-ties to affix political signs to DOT signposts.

People have also asked about city ordinances. But as this MyReporter answer shows, state law trumps local ordinances when it comes to limiting placement of campaign signs on state-maintained roads.

UPDATE: City of Wilmington staffers are actively removing such signs in the city rights of way as they are not permitted, according to Dylan Lee, a spokesman for the city. Residents can call code enforcement at 910-341-3266 to report violations.


At one time it was illegal to place political signs in median strips in Wilmington. Is that still true?

How can we get ‘no dumping allowed’ signs in our area?

How far from intersections must campaign signs be?

User-contributed question by:
Frank Baker

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