MUTCD Lateral Offset Compliance Date

Lateral Offset

  • January 17, 2013 is the MUTCD compliance date for crash-worthiness of sign supports on roads with posted speed limit of 50 mph or higher.

Quoted 2009 MUTCD Standards

Section 2A.19 Lateral Offset

01 For overhead sign supports, the minimum lateral offset from the edge of the shoulder (or if no shoulder exists, from the edge of the pavement) to the near edge of overhead sign supports (cantilever or sign bridges) shall be 6 feet. Overhead sign supports shall have a barrier or crash cushion to shield them if they are within the clear zone.

02 post-mounted sign and object marker supports shall be crashworthy (breakaway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cushion) if within the clear zone.


03 For post-mounted signs, the minimum lateral offset should be 12 feet from the edge of the traveled way. If a shoulder wider than 6 feet exists, the minimum lateral offset for post-mounted signs should be 6 feet from the
edge of the shoulder.


04 The minimum lateral offset requirements for object markers are provided in Chapter 2C.

05 The minimum lateral offset is intended to keep trucks and cars that use the shoulders from striking the signs or supports.

06 All supports should be located as far as practical from the edge of the shoulder. Advantage should be taken
to place signs behind existing roadside barriers, on over-crossing structures, or other locations that minimize the exposure of the traffic to sign supports.

07 Where permitted, signs may be placed on existing supports used for other purposes, such as highway traffic signal supports, highway lighting supports, and utility poles.

08 If signs are placed on existing supports, they shall meet other placement criteria contained in this Manual.

09 Lesser lateral offsets may be used on connecting roadways or ramps at interchanges, but not less than 6 feet from the edge of the traveled way.

10 On conventional roads in areas where it is impractical to locate a sign with the lateral offset prescribed by this

Section, a lateral offset of at least 2 feet may be used.
11 A lateral offset of at least 1 foot from the face of the curb may be used in business, commercial or residential areas where sidewalk width is limited or where existing poles are close to the curb.

12 Overhead sign supports and post-mounted sign and object marker supports should not intrude into the usable width of a sidewalk or other pedestrian facility.

13 Figures 2A-2 and 2A-3 illustrate some examples of the lateral offset requirements contained in this Section.