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Outdoor Advertising — Sign Control and Junkyard Control

PennDOT is required to uphold the laws regulating the placement of Outdoor Advertising Devices (OAD) and Junkyards in Pennsylvania. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) oversees the state OAD program to ensure effective control is being satisfied as per the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.

PennDOT administers and enforces Act 160 and the regulations, which generally means the state must prohibit the erection of new signs adjacent to the Interstate, Federal-Aid Primary System (as of June 1, 1991) or any highway on the National Highway System, unless the signs are erected in commercial or industrial areas or there is an exception in the Highway Beautification Act for the signs.

Staff coordinate and apply the policies and guidelines as outlined in the Highway Beautification Manual, and also coordinate with the department's district offices and legal staff on guidance and operating procedures.




Highway Beautification Management System (HBMS)

HBMS is a web-based application allowing 24/7 access for electronic submittal of applications, automated invoicing, and the ability to generate management reports. Sign and junkyard owners can view detailed sign information, permit status, payments and account information through this system.

The following publications and forms should be referenced for OAD purposes and can be found in the Forms, Pubs and Maps section:

  • PUB 581 — Highway Beautification Manual (9-17)
  • PUB 266 — Right of Way Encroachment & Outdoor Advertising Sign Control (9-13)
  • RW-744 — On Premise Application
  • RW-745 — Off Premise Application
  • RW-746 — Directional & Public Service Application
  • RW-749 — Transfer Sign Ownership
  • RW-745I — Instructions
  • RW-745I — SB-Scenic ByWays
  • RW-748A — Application for Junkyard or Automotive Dismantler or Recycler


MAP-21-Moving Ahead For Progress In The 21st Century Act

State law and regulation, FHWA regulations, and changes to federal law under MAP-21 make the department responsible for effective control of outdoor advertising and junkyards along the Interstate Highway System, the Federal-Aid primary system in existence on June 1, 1991, and the National Highway System (NHS). As a result of the changes to Title 23 by MAP-21, the department is now also responsible for highways on the "enhanced NHS."

  • Federal transportation appropriation bill amended Title 23 United State Code, Section 103, and extended the definition of routes under the NHS to cover routes classified as principal arterials (among other roads).
  • The new general term for the NHS which includes the Interstate and principal arterials as a result of MAP-21 is the "enhanced NHS."
  • You can find more information on "Outdoor Advertising" and "Junkyard Control" on the questions and answers page on the MAP-21 website.