The Ministry of Transportation operates under the principle that highways are safest for motorists when they are relatively free of distractions. For this reason, private signs along BC highways are not permitted. Nonetheless, some signs are necessary to point out services and attractions at highway exits, and for directions. You may apply specifically for a Service and Attraction sign.
Signs to point out emergency services, such as local radio stations and fire protection are permitted and require you to fill out a permit application. Likewise, hunting zone boundaries, regional district boundaries and other location markers may be posted, with a permit.
To reduce the chance of driver distraction, the Ministry of Transportation does not issue permits for advertising.
To apply for permission to install a sign along any highway or road:
- Submit your application, with a supporting plan and details, to the Ministry of Transportation.
- Ministry staff will supply you with a confirmation that they received
your application, and assign a file number to your proposal.
- Your proposal will be reviewed, including a site visit and consultations if necessary.
- Ministry staff will contact you with a decision, or a request for more information.
- If your proposal is successful, you will receive a permit.
Service and Attraction Signs
Service and Attraction signs are erected by the Ministry of Transportation
along provincial highways as a relatively uniform method of pointing out conveniences
to the traveling public. They are not intended to promote any one service,
attraction or facility over another. Common services and attractions are:
- gas stations
- tourist attractions
Accommodation, attraction or artisan businesses please contact the District Transportation Office.
On rural Provincial highways, eligible tourist facilities are signed in advance of turnoff points. The signs identify the types of facilities available, sometimes display business name panels and provide directional and possibly distance information. Confirmatory signs are provided, as required, on freeway exit ramps and at decision points on local roads and municipal streets.
As gas, food and lodging facilities (basic services) are generally numerous and more easily located in urban areas, signing is not provided for them on conventional urban highways except where confirmatory signing is required from a higher category of Provincial highway. However, for facilities less commonly found in urban areas, such as marinas, boat ramps, sani-stations and campgrounds, the Ministry of Transportation provides generic (symbol) directional signing.
To be eligible for signing, tourist facilities must meet specified minimum standards and must be located within specified maximum distances from Provincial highway turnoffs. These distances are based on the distances an “en route” traveler might reasonably expect to drive in order to reach those facilities.
If the Ministry approves your application for a Service and Attraction sign, it will be ordered and installed for you. For further information on this program, please see the Service and Attraction Sign Manual.
It has become customary for members of the public to place items of memorial along roadways to commemorate those who have died as a result of motor vehicle related accidents. Out of respect for grieving family and friends, the Ministry of Transportation allows placement of roadside memorials within provincial highway rights-of-way at, or near, the accident site.
Roadside memorials must not be a hazard to those using or maintaining a highway. The sole authority to remove a memorial marker resides with the District Manager, Transportation. If the District Manager determines that it is absolutely necessary to remove a memorial marker for safety, construction or maintenance purposes, he or she will attempt to contact the individuals who erected the memorial and facilitate its relocation or removal. For further information, contact your District Transportation Office.