What do I have to do to put up a sign?
To erect a sign you need to obtain an application for a permit from the South Dakota Department of Transportation Region Office nearest you. See the listing of these offices at the end of this page. Applications need to be approved for zoning, size, lighting and spacing in accordance with the requirements of SDCL Chapter 31-29. Permits require the signature of the signowner. After the Region Office reviews the application and verifies the location as legal under current regulations, the permit is then approved by the Department.
What highways require a permit?
Permits are required before an advertising sign can be erected along the Interstate and other controlled highways providing the sign meets size, lighting and spacing requirements. Contact the nearest Region Office for information on which highways are controlled.
Why do I have to get a permit?
South Dakota State Law requires a permit to be on file with the Department of Transportation in order to control the number and placement of signs. Signs without a permit are considered illegal and are subject to removal.
Can I put my sign on the highway right-of-way?
No. All signs must be erected outside of the right-of-way and may not overhang the right of way. The right-of-way is reserved solely for official traffic control signs.
How big can I make my sign?
The maximum area of one sign can be 1,200 square feet and can not exceed thirty feet in height and sixty feet in length.
Do I need a permit from the town or city where I am erecting the sign?
Signs inside the incorporated city limits are monitored by the South Dakota Department of Transportation to see that they conform to size, lighting and spacing requirements. You do not need to obtain a permit from the state, but you may need to obtain a permit from the city.
Do I need a permit from the county where I am erecting the sign?
Some counties have their own regulations which require permits in order to erect a sign. You may need to obtain a permit from the county as well as from the state. Only state permits are available through the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
Can I put a sign on my own property without a permit?
Yes and no. You may erect on-premise signs meeting the requirements of the law. The sign must advertise activities conducted on the property or advertise the sale or lease of the property. You cannot advertise products not sold on your property or activities that are conducted elsewhere.
How much do permits cost?
Fees are based on the square footage of the sign. Annual permits fees range from $8.00 to $32.00 per sign. Permits fees are listed on the back of the permit application. There are no fees for signs in the city limits or church signs under 65 square feet. Effective July 1, 2010 permits fees will range from $16.00 to $72.00 per the following schedule:

Square FeetCost
0 to 100 $16.00
101 to 300 $24.00
301 to 500 $32.00
501 to 700 $40.00
701 to 900 $48.00
901 to 1100 $64.00
Over 1100 $72.00
Can I use flashing lights on a sign?
No. Flashing, revolving or rotating lights of any kind are not allowed because they could be distracting to motorists or could be confused with emergency or maintenance vehicles.
May I erect a directional sign to a museum or recreational site?
Yes. Contact the Region Office in your area for eligibility criteria for historical, educational or cultural, scientific, scenic and outdoor recreational sites:

Wayne Hein
Region Operations Tech. - Aberdeen
CallEmailDirectionsMore Details
2735 Highway 12 W
Aberdeen, SD
Abby Mueller
Region Operations Tech. - Mitchell
CallEmailDirectionsMore Details
1300 S. Ohlman St.
Mitchell, SD 57301-7206
Clark Guthrie
Region Operations Tech. - Pierre
CallEmailDirectionsMore Details
104 S. Garfield Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Dan Cooper
Region Operations Tech. - Rapid City
CallEmailDirectionsMore Details
2300 Eglin Street
Rapid City, SD 57701

open all

For more information on Outdoor Advertising law, refer to:
SDCL Chapter 31-29 →

TransportationDoing Business
Certification & AccreditationContractorsEngineering/Design ServicesEnvironmentalLocal GovernmentsTraffic Incident Management
Projects & Studies
PlanningStudiesConstruction ProjectsSDDOT InnovationPublic Meetings
Programs & ServicesTravelersInside SDDOTDOT Fact BookBlogsHome testProjects Test Page