May 30, 2019

Approaches to billboard advertising along the interstate

Billboard advertising viewed by interstate travelers can be extremely effective for advertisers. In Chicago, and at all times of day and night, thousands of commuters drive to and from the city by way of the interstate highways. Billboard advertising to this often trapped and motionless audience, can be a very lucrative business. When planning for such a billboard, the following items will be necessary to consider.

Local sign regulations
Local sign ordinances still apply. Local regulations that govern sign size, proximity to roadway or sign height all must be satisfied. If your billboard exceeds any of these limitations, variance approvals are going to be necessary from the municipality in which your sign will be located.

Illinois Department of Transportation Regulations (IDOT)
It is required to adhere to the regulations of, and obtain a permit from, IDOT in order to erect a billboard along an Illinois interstate highway. In most cases, a common stumbling block is that a billboard along an interstate will need to be at least 300 feet from the next closest interstate billboard.

Electronic billboards
It is increasingly common for new billboards to be electronic (i.e. LED). LED signs allow for a higher number of advertisers and tend to be more catching to the eye. For these reasons, LED billboards often generate a higher amount of advertising revenue than that of a regular billboard. LED billboards do carry more regulation (namely as to how “static” the board’s images are) from both IDOT and also typically from most municipalities.

Interstate billboards are often in “business” areas. If the sign is not in a business area, it is very likely that local approvals will be necessary to erect the billboard. During such a hearing, a showing that the billboard will not hurt neighboring property values, create a hazard, or negatively impact the community will be necessary.

The Real Estate attorneys at Chuhak & Tecson will be happy to answer questions regarding the regulations surrounding billboard placement and advertising. 

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.

Client alert authored by Kevin M. Coyne, Principal