Signs

How Do I Get a Sign Installed?

If your community needs a sign installed, such as marking a dead end street or a pedestrian crossing on a public road, contact the agency that is responsible for that road. All cities and most large towns (over 3,500 population) maintain their own street signs.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintains street signs in all counties except on secondary roads in Arlington and Henrico counties. For VDOT-maintained signs, call your local VDOT residency.

How Do I Get a Street-Name Sign Installed?

VDOT is responsible for the initial installation of a system of street signs on roads that it maintains. Each locality is responsible for all maintenance of the signs thereafter. For details, contact your local public works office.

How Do I Get a Speed-Limit Sign Installed?

Speed-limit signs are installed on VDOT-maintained roadways following a traffic engineering study. That study assesses several factors, including:

  • Roadway characteristics
  • Conflict potential
  • Eighty-fifth percentile speed

Once the study is complete, a recommendation is made to the commonwealth transportation commissioner for approval. To request a study and posting, contact your local VDOT residency.

VDOT can only provide studies for public roads. Public roads are identified by the black and white route number signs at an intersection. Please have the route number for the road study available when requesting a study. 

How Do I Get a Historical Marker Installed?

The Department of Historic Resources administers the Historic Highway Marker Program. The contact for this program is Jennifer R. Loux (804) 482-6089

Why Doesn't VDOT Do Something About All the Sign Clutter Along the Highway?

VDOT shares your concerns about the overuse of signs and the impact they has on the safety, efficiency and aesthetics of our highway system. We are constantly seeking to reduce the number of existing signs and are prudent about the signs allowed.

To express your concerns or for more information, contact your local VDOT residency.

Why Don't the Changeable Message Signs Along the Highway Work?

States nationwide are using changeable message signs to relay important messages. When messages appear on these signs, they are generally visible from a much greater distance than static signs. This gives motorists more time to read and respond to the message as they approach.

If these signs are overused by providing routine or static information, they do not command sufficient attention during an emergency or other urgent situation. Usage rates vary from approximately three percent of the time in rural areas to well in excess of 20 percent of the time in urban areas.

In some cases, the signs may have been recently erected or under construction and not yet operational. Although the sign structure may be in place, wiring and other connections may not be complete.

If you see a problem with a changeable message sign, contact your local VDOT residency.

Can I Rent a Portable Changeable Message Sign from VDOT for My Event?

Normally VDOT does not rent this equipment, as it needs to be available in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, VDOT does not wish to compete with the private sector in renting or leasing such equipment.

However, depending on the event however, VDOT may consider working with the sponsoring organization or locality to use these signs on a cost-reimbursement basis, in order to assure efficient traffic operation. For further information, contact the local VDOT residency.

How Do I Get a Sign for My Facility or Attraction Installed?

VDOT has been developing the Integrated Directional Sign Program (IDSP) as an umbrella for four specific programs that include those signs.

How Do I Get My Business Logo on a Highway Sign?

The Travel Service (Logo) Sign Program is operated by Virginia Logos Inc. (VLI) under contract to VDOT. To apply for the Logo Program, contact VLI at (804) 754-0970 or (800) 229-2809.

Businesses must meet specific criteria to be considered for the program and must be one of the six closest qualifying businesses to the interchange.

Can I Install a Billboard or Other Advertising Sign on My Property?

The regulations covering such advertising in Virginia are extensive. You can refer to the Code of Virginia §§33.1-351 to 33.1-381 for outdoor advertising regulations.

Localities may have additional regulations governing such signs. Contact your local zoning administrator or zoning office.

Why Doesn't VDOT Install "Pass on Left Only"or "Slower Traffic Keep Right" Signs to Tell Motorists Which Lane to Use?

The Code of Virginia §46.2-804 generally requires vehicles to be driven in the right lane, except when overtaking and passing other vehicles. VDOT has installed "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs along many sections of Interstates 95 and 81. However, based on the number of vehicles not in compliance, it is obvious that the signs provide little if any benefit. 

How Does VDOT Decide How Often a City or Town is Located on a Distance Sign?

Distance signs, which are located before the ramps at interchanges, generally indicate the distance to the next local community on the interstate. They also show the distances to the next "control city" as designated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). A control city is a city on or near the interstate system whose general location can be easily identified, and whose population and character are generators of sufficient traffic to be a focal point for interstate travel.

How Do I Return a Road Sign That I Have?

Contact your locality for additional information.

Can I Purchase a Sign from VDOT?

VDOT does not make signs for sale to the public. There are a number of companies that can supply highway signs. Check your local Yellow Pages for a list of sign fabricators who can produce an official-looking highway sign. Owning such a sign is legal, but retain your receipt for proof of purchase.

However, posting signs on public highways or streets by citizens is against the law, whether they be standard highway or simple cardboard signs.

Does VDOT Sell Old Signs?

No, we do not sell surplus signs as they are recycled.

What are VDOT's Sign Standards?

VDOT has adopted the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Sign information, including placement, is listed there. The MUTCD also refers to the Standard Highway Signs book which provides specific details, such as color, size, height of letters, etc.

The 2003 edition of the MUTCD is online.

Page last modified: Oct. 24, 2014