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ADOT to allow roadside memorials to stay, with conditions

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 21:28:19-04
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are symbols of grief by the side of the road but the Arizona Department of Transportation sometimes picked them up and hauled them away.
 
Now ADOT says it will let most memorials along state highways and interstate stay where they are, as long as they comply with some new rules.
 
The City of Tucson makes its own rules for roadside memorials.  The City and Pima Country try to respect them and leave them alone as long as they do not block drivers’ vision or they'd be dangerous if a car hit them.
      
But ADOT has been taking these down on state highways.  Now they can stay, if they meet certain standards.
 
They are roadside shrines to love and loss.  Every one has a story.  Christine Austin told us her father was bicycling here ten years ago, just past a sign warning drivers to share the road with cyclists.
     
The cross and bicycle wheel mark where a driver hit and killed him. She says there were no charges.
 
"All I have of my father is some ashes.  So we really don't have a cemetery plot.  We don't have someplace people go to visit him."
     
She hopes the memorial will be a reminder for drivers too, to watch for cyclists.
     
The memorial for Christine Austin’s father is on a Pima County road. ADOT had been removing some memorials on state highways.  Now they can stay if they abide by new rules.
 
“Some of these memorials can get rather large and elaborate but ADOT wants to restrict their size.   No more than 30 inches tall.  No more than 18 inches wide. And they should be wood or plastic not metal or concrete.
      
ADOT says it's for driver safety. But Christine Austin says if ADOT standards applied to her father's memorial she'd have to remove it.  It’s larger that ADOT’s rules allow and made of steel because termites destroyed an earlier version made of wood.
 
“It would be hard to take it down.  But I definitely will not let them take it.  I will take it before they take it."
 
If your memorial is on a state highway, ADOT's new rules say you're supposed to tell ADOT where it is so they can tell you if they need to move it.