Road commission reminds residents to secure mailboxes.

October 15, 2019

Road commission reminds residents to secure mailboxes.

HART – Before winter takes hold and snow plows hit the roads, the Oceana County Road Commission asks residents to prepare by shaking their mailboxes this month.

“A mailbox is the only object allowed by law that homeowners can place in the road right-of-way. The location and construction of mailboxes must conform to the rules and regulations of the United States Postal Service and nationwide standards established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials,” said Oceana County Road Commission Managing Director Mark Timmer.

The road right-of-way is typically 66 feet wide, or 33 feet each direction from the centerline of the road. The right-of-way is maintained by county road agencies and is used for residential and public utility purposes.

Over the years, a mailbox post can rot or become wobbly. By grabbing and shaking it, a resident will know if it’s secure. Snow coming off a plow going 35 miles per hour has surprising force that can topple a wobbly mailbox. And digging a mailbox out and reinstalling it in frozen ground is no picnic.

“Our No. 1 job is to maintain a safe and efficient road and right-of-way system,” Timmer said. “It is a resident’s responsibility to ensure his or her mailbox is secure.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Oceana County Road Commission have policies in place regarding replacement of mailboxes that have been hit by a snowplow. However, road agencies are not responsible for mailbox damage caused by standard snow removal operations.

Residents should prepare mailboxes for winter by tightening screws and ensuring the post and box are secure enough to endure large amounts of snow that is thrown. If the mailbox moves when shaken, the box may need to be repaired or replaced before winter.

“We will be out in coming weeks preparing for winter maintenance operations,” Timmer said. “Each fall we find mailboxes that pose a serious roadside hazard to motorists and a liability risk for homeowners. Damage to posts and receptacles can often be prevented by proper routine maintenance.”

 

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