The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges farmers and other
landowners not to encroach on highway rights of way when planting
crops this spring.
and planting within highway rights of way violate state law. The
violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $700 fine and/or
90 days in jail.
of way include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches,
the clear zone, and sight corners at intersections (see graphic).
at an intersection of two roads are especially susceptible to
visual obstructions created by unlawfully planted crops, especially
tall plants such as corn.
As crops grow
higher and fuller throughout the growing season, they can create
a serious safety hazard for motorists. As drivers approach the
junction of two roads, their ability to see other vehicles approaching
the intersection may be obstructed due crop growth.
other conditions created by crop encroachment on state property
as well. Erosion can become a problem, especially in ditches.
It can affect proper drainage, clog culverts and jeopardize the
stability of the shoulders and the roadbed itself.
are permitted to use highway rights of way to install gas lines,
power lines, telephone lines and fiber optic cable. Plowing and
tilling can damage these lines under the ground, create a potentially
dangerous situation for workers and area residents, and cause
possible service interruptions.
monitor rights of way and can issue a written violation notice
for crop encroachment.
may request the responsible person to remove the planted crop
and re-establish the affected area with permanent, non crop vegetation
at their own expense. If the request is not met, the Minnesota
State Patrol will issue a misdemeanor ticket. State officials
will then make any corrections necessary and assess costs to the
the boundaries of highway rights of way, landowners should look
for metal posts about three to four feet high with either green
and white or black and white diamond-shaped plates at the top.
These markers, however, are not always present. Older roadways
may have concrete marker monuments about two feet high. It is
also a misdemeanor to remove or damage these markers and monuments.
Here for Illustration (pdf format)
information regarding roadway regulations, or assistance in identifying
right of way boundaries on a state highway, contact: Steve Schoeb
at the Mankato office at 507-389-6859 or 1-800-657-3747 or Jim
Fox at the Windom office at 507-831-1202 or 1-800-804-3295.