by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Roadside memorials can be spotted along multiple interstates throughout Middle Tennessee, but many people do not realize the displays are illegal.
Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation want people to think twice before putting the memorials on a state route or interstate.
"Anything that is placed on the state's public right of way is trespassing," said Deanna Lambert, Spokesperson for TDOT.
TDOT does not issue fines or citations to people who put up the memorials, but officials do ask that people remove the displays for safety reasons.
"It is dangerous to place memorials on the side of the road when you have traffic flowing at 70-75 miles per hour," said Lambert. "It is also unsafe for motorists. It can be distracting, and if a memorial is large a driver could hit it and cause a lot of damage."
Lambert said TDOT understands this is a sensitive issue, but regulations are in place to promote safety.
As an alternative, TDOT encourages people to take advantage of the Tennessee Groves program which offers a safe and legal way to honor a loved one. The program allows people to purchase trees or flowers that will be planted at the four welcome centers across the state.
For more information on the Tennessee Groves program visit their website.