I was wondering why the state doesn’t have any signs on the interstates letting drivers know of services offered at the next exit. Tourist and local travelers find this helpful whether it be food, gas or lodging. Many states offer this, and I’ve always found it helpful.
Thanks for writing! Jamie Olson of the North Dakota Department of Transportation gave this response:
“The North Dakota Department of Transportation follows the North Dakota Century Code 24-17, Advertising Adjacent to Highways, which prohibits the use of these types of signs, commonly referred to as ‘logo’ signs. Any exceptions to this would require legislative action.
“Thank you for contacting the North Dakota Department of Transportation.”
After hearing from Jamie, I looked up that state law. It’s four pages long, but here’s the beginning of it:
“It is hereby declared to be in the public interest reasonably to regulate advertising devices along the highways hereinafter specified while, at the same time, recognizing that both the convenience of travel and the interests of the economy as a whole require a reasonable freedom to advertise.
“It is the intention of the legislative assembly in this chapter to provide a statutory basis for the reasonable regulation, but not the prohibition, of outdoor advertising … ”
You can read this entire section at http://legis.nd.gov/cencode/t24c17.pdf.
It’s been my privilege to write this column and help you get answers from your state government officials the past two years.
It’s with mixed feelings that I let you know that I am leaving my job at Forum Communications later this week to pursue a doctorate in another state. I’ve been honored to spend a total of seven years with the company and to get to know so many of you through my work for The Forum, Grand Forks Herald, Jamestown Sun and Dickinson Press.
When I first brought up the idea of doing this column, a Capitol reporter in another state told me there was no way it would work in his state. North Dakota is fortunate to have officials willing to take the time to respond to the public.
I want to especially thank Jamie Olson of the North Dakota Department of Transportation for her help. I never dreamed there were so many transportation-related questions of interest to readers, and she’s been terrific about taking the time to answer so many of your questions (including the one featured today).
Without her cooperation, this column would have been in trouble since she answered 20 percent of the questions.
My column will continue to run until the end of August. Thank you all for your great questions these past few years. You can be proud of your role in keeping North Dakota government accountable and transparent.
– Teri Finneman