Iowa Road Signs

FAQs - Private Directional Signs




Select a question below to reveal the answer.


Can I place the sign on the state right-of-way?

No, the entire sign, including over-hang, must be completely on private property.

Can Private Directional Signs be placed along interstates and primary highways?

Yes, with a permit.

Does the Iowa Department of Transportation make and install the sign?

No, the permit holder is responsible for procurement, erection, and maintenance of the sign.

What is the cost of the permit?

$100 initial fee, $15 annual renewal fee.

What kind of visitor count will I need to qualify?

If the sign is visible from an interstate you must have an annual visitor count of 15,000 or more.

If the sign is visible from a primary or freeway primary highway you must:

a) have an annual visitor count of 10,000 or more; or

b) be on the federal historic register and have an annual visitor count of 5,000 or more; or

c) have an annual visitor count of 2,500 or more, of which at least 25% of the visitors must reside outside the county in which the tourist attraction is located.

How far can my signs be from the attraction?

If the sign is located on an interstate it must be within 75 air miles of the attraction. If the sign is located on a primary or freeway primary highway it must be with 50 air miles of the attraction.

How many signs can I place?

The maximum is three(3) signs per highway, per direction of traffic.

Are there any size restrictions?

All Private Directional Signs must be rectangular in shape. Maximum: 150 square feet (with no side greater than 20 feet).

Are there any spacing regulations with Private Directional Signs?

Yes. Private Directional signs must be at least 1 mile apart from other Private Directional signs facing the same direction of traffic, and must be 2000 feet or more from parklands, scenic areas, rest areas, or interchanges.

Can I place my logo, pictures or other graphics on a Private Directional Sign?

No. Descriptive words or phrases, and pictorial or photographic representations are prohibited by state and federal regulations. However, if the attraction is commonly recognized and consistently identified through its on-premise signing and marketing endeavors by a single logo or emblem, then that logo or emblem can be use on the sign. The display of this logo or emblem is solely for the purpose of site identification and not for the purpose of promoting the attraction’s amenities.

Can I have a sponsor (profit or nonprofit) listed on the sign?


What kind of message can I have on a Private Directional sign?

Private Directional Signs must display the name of the attraction and directions to the attraction (including exit numbers, if applicable). The Iowa Department of Transportation reserves the right to require posting of months and hours of operation.

Can a Private Directional Sign be illuminated or reflective?