State to replace memorials on roads

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2002

KENAI - The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to remove roadside memorials for people killed in traffic accidents and launch a program to erect their own signs along highway rights of way.

Beginning Sept. 16, DOT workers will remove nonregulation memorials, which will be held for 30 days.

The new Memorial Sign Program is part of the state's driving safety efforts.

Memorial signs are available to commemorate victims of fatal accidents, including those caused by drunken drivers. Signs also may be sponsored by relatives of drunken drivers killed in highway crashes.

"Many of the memorials - the little white crosses and such - that people put up are put up in medians and places that just aren't safe," DOT spokesman Murph O'Brien told the Peninsula Clarion.

Individuals wishing to sponsor a memorial sign for friends or loved ones fatally injured in a highway accident may submit an application to the state.

Signs involving drunken driving fatalities are 30 inches by 36 inches with white lettering on a blue background. They say "Please Don't Drink And Drive."

Below the sign is a plaque that says either, "In Memory Of" followed by the victim's name, or "Sponsored By" the family's name.

Signs memorializing victims of accidents not caused by drunken drivers are 30 inches by 30 inches with the message, "Please Drive Safely" printed in white letters on a blue background.

Below that is a 30-inch-by-12-inch plaque that reads, "In Memory Of," followed by the victim's name.

In accidents with more than one victim, additional small plaques will be attached to the same signpost beneath the name of the first victim or sponsor.

The signs - free to sponsors - are to be placed near the scene of the accident at least 200 feet from all existing traffic signs. They should not obstruct the visibility of those signs. The memorial signs will be installed on the right shoulder facing traffic.

The state will order and install the signs and retain ownership. The new signs, which may remain in place for 10 years, will be the only memorials allowed within the state highway right of way.

Applications for the memorials can be obtained from the regional office of DOT nearest to where the death occurred.

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