Outdoor Advertising

Billboard-01.jpgThere are approximately 19,000 permitted signs along controlled routes in Illinois. Outdoor advertising is any sign (from billboard to small banner) that is to be controlled (permitted) by IDOT per Title 92 Illinois Administrative Code Part 522 - Control of Outdoor Advertising Adjacent to Primary and Interstate Highways. Signs along any controlled route, which advertise anything that is not on the same property of the sign, are required to obtain a permit prior to being erected. If a sign is erected without a permit the sign is illegal and must be removed (at the owner's expense).

This section outlines the process by which to legally Advertise Adjacent to Primary and Interstate Highways. Before processing, please note:

  • IDOT does not own or lease any advertising structure. The department only regulates advertising. To lease space for advertising, please contact an industry representative.

  • Most local authorities (counties and municipalities) also have regulations or ordinances regarding signage in their jurisdiction. It is your responsibility to follow local laws. Approval of a sign application from the state does not exempt the applicant from any local ordinances or guarantee approval from the local authority having jurisdiction. Likewise, local approval does not guarantee or exempt approval from the state.

Controlled Routes

IDOT is only responsible for issuing permits under its jurisdiction. To begin, you must first determine the area that you are interested in advertising in, and determine if the sign is placed along a controlled route.

  • If you already know that the location is along a controlled route please proceed to the Application tab.
  • If not please utilize the map below by selecting a district or calling a district contact.
RegionAll.jpg District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9

District 1
201 West Center Court
Schaumburg, IL 60196
(847) 705-4000

District 2
819 Depot Ave.
Dixon, IL
(815) 284-2271

District 3
700 East Norris Dr.
Ottawa, IL 61350
(815) 434-6131

District 4
401 Main
Peoria, IL 61602
(309) 671-3333

District 5
13473 IL Hwy 133
P.O. Box 610
Paris, IL 61944
(217) 465-4181

District 6
126 East Ash
Springfield, IL 62704
(217) 782-7301

District 7
400 West Wabash
Effingham, IL 62401
(217) 342-3951

District 8
1102 Eastport Plaza
Collinsville, IL 62234
(618) 346-3100

District 9
State Trans. Building
P.O. Box 100
Carbondale, IL 62903
(618) 549-2171

Central Office / Bureau of Land Acquisition
2300 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62764
(217) 782-6243

To obtain more information than what is located on the map, a Freedom of Information request (FOIA) will need to be submitted. Any FOIA request submitted should include precise location and description of the sign permit information being requested in order to avoid delays in processing the request. You may submit your request in writing to:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Office of Chief Counsel
2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, Room 300
Springfield, IL 62764

Application

Please review and familiarize yourself with the Rules and Guidelines for Outdoor Advertising before submitting an application.

There are a variety of applications to accommodate several circumstances, please navigate to the Application tab to determine the appropriate permit application along with accompanying fee.

Please note: Normal processing time for permit applications is four weeks from date of submittal. Once the review is complete you will be notified in writing if the review found that further information is needed or the application is approved or denied.

Applications cannot be expedited and are processed as they are received. To check on the status of a permit application after the normal processing time, please email DOT.Billboards@Illinois.gov and a department representative will respond.

Business Area Sign: Primary Highway

This application is used to obtain a permit to erect an off premises sign along a controlled primary Non-Interstate/Expressway route. Signs along a controlled primary highway within the state of Illinois are required to obtain permits from IDOT prior to being erected, when the advertised content is not located on the property where the sign is to be placed. Off Premises signs along Primary Highways are only allowed within areas that are zoned commercial or industrial or in unzoned areas that meet the Business Area criteria.

Fee Schedule

A non-refundable application fee by check or money order payable to the Illinois State Treasurer shall be submitted. Any application received without the correct fee will be returned and not processed.

  • For signs of less than 150 square feet*, the fee shall be $50.
  • For signs of at least 150 but less than 300 square feet*, the fee shall be $100.
  • For signs of 300 or more square feet*, the fee shall be $200.

*The square feet shall be measured by the smallest square, rectangle, triangle, circle, or combination that will encompass the entire display area. If one side of the sign provides for more display area than another, the measurements will be made on the larger side.

Requirements

Please read the Rules for Primary Highways to familiarize yourself with regulations before submitting an application.

Application:Business Area Sign-Primary Highway (LA9001)

Instructions and a checklist are included on the required application which is to be submitted to the following address with original signatures:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Bureau of Land Acquisition Outdoor Advertising
2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Room 210
Springfield, IL 62764

Business Area Sign: Interstate Highway

This application is used to obtain a permit to erect an off premises sign along a controlled Interstate/Expressway route. Signs along a controlled interstate highway within the state of Illinois are required to obtain permits from the IDOT prior to being erected, when the advertised content is not located on the property where the sign is to be placed. Per Public Act 098-0056 the following signs are not required to be issued a permit: (1) On-Premise: Interstate Highway (2) For Sale Or Lease Sign: Interstate Highways, and (3) Lodging, Food, Outdoor Recreation Or Automotive Service Sign: Interstate Highway.

Fee Schedule

  • For signs of less than 150 square feet*, the fee shall be $50.
  • For signs of at least 150 but less than 300 square feet*, the fee shall be $100.
  • For signs of 300 or more square feet*, the fee shall be $200.

*The square feet shall be measured by the smallest square, rectangle, triangle, circle, or combination that will encompass the entire display area. If one side of the sign provides for more display area than another, the measurements will be made on the larger side.

Requirements

Please read the Rules for Interstate Highways to familiarize yourself with regulations before submitting an application.

Application: Business Area Sign-Interstate Highway (LA9002)

Instructions and a checklist are included on the required application which is to be submitted to the following address with original signatures:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Bureau of Land Acquisition Outdoor Advertising
2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Room 210
Springfield, IL 62764

Notification for Outdoor Advertising: Directional or\Official Sign

This application is used to notify IDOT that a directional or official sign will be erected. Signs in this category include: service clubs, non-profit groups, welcome to city signs, churches, etc. Signs meeting the below definitions and rules are not required to obtain a permit but are required to notify the department using the form below.

Fee Schedule

No Fee

Requirements

Please read the Rules for Directional or Official Sign to familiarize yourself with regulations before submitting an application.

Application: Directional Sign, Official Sign, or Official Notice (LA9008)

Instructions and a checklist are included on the required application which is to be submitted to the following address with original signatures:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Bureau of Land Acquisition Outdoor Advertising
2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Room 210
Springfield, IL 62764

Permit Compliance

The permit is valid for as long as the sign structure exists. However, please note:

  • If the ownership of the sign changes the following form (LA9009) is required to be submitted within 60 days of the change in ownership.
  • If the sign is later found to be non-compliant with the permit, law or rules then the permit can be revoked and the sign removed (at the owner's expense).

A sign owner may trim or manage vegetation on state right-of-way of a legal sign by permit only. Complete the Vegetation Control Permit form by following the instructions with the form and returning the form to the Landscape Specialists in the District office having jurisdiction as listed on the form.

FAQ

Q:I received a notice that says I need to register my sign due to the highway now being part of the National Highway System (NHS). But the street where my sign is located is a local street, why then am I required to register the sign with the State?

A::The Federal Highway Beautification Act requires that the State Department of Transportation regulate outdoor advertising along all Interstate and NHS highways. The National Highway System (NHS) includes highways important to the nation’s economy, mobility and defense. The Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) required the creation of the NHS and identified certain strategic routes to be part of the network. Over the next several years additional routes were added with the corporation of state transportation departments, metropolitan planning organizations and other local partners. In 1995 Congress approved the approximate 160,000 mile nationwide NHS, with Illinois’ portion of about 5,600 miles. Congress developed the concept of the NHS as a way for states to focus federal resources on the nation’s most important roads. The NHS consists of a combination of State, Toll Way, and local jurisdiction miles. The 2012 Federal legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), expanded the miles of NHS by creating an enhanced NHS network. On October 1, 2012 the NHS was expanded to about 230,000 miles nationwide. This expansion added about 2,100 miles to Illinois’ existing NHS network, for a total of 7,885 miles statewide. Currently Illinois has about 7,852 miles of NHS; of this mileage 7,083 miles are under the jurisdiction of IDOT, but IDOT is required to regulate outdoor advertising along all of the 7,885 miles. Additional information regarding the National Highway System can be found on the Federal Highway Administration’s NHS website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/national_highway_system/

Q: I have received a letter indicating I may have an undocumented sign, what do I do?

A: If you currently have a permit or registration from IDOT for the indicated sign, please reply by returning the letter with a copy of the permit or registration to IDOT, Attn: Bureau of Land Acquisition, Outdoor Advertising

If the indicated sign is advertising a business or activity other than that of the property you may be eligible for a Business Area Interstate permit. Please submit the Business Area Sign: Interstate Highway (LA9002) application.

Q: How do I advertise on the IDOT Interstate Blue Logo Signs?

A: Visit Business Logo Program for information.

Q: How do I get a Special Recognition Sign?

A: For Special Recognition signs, DUI Memorial, and Tourist Oriented Directional signs (TODS). Contact the IDOT District pertaining to sign placement by navigating to the Controlled Routes tab of this site.

Q: How do I get the GPS coordinate?

A: If your proposed sign is over 150 sq. ft. you will need to submit a drawing by a licensed land surveyor. Your professional land surveyor should be able to provide you with the GPS coordinate. You can also obtain coordinates by using Google Maps.

Q: How do I determine Right-of-Way (ROW)?

A: Contact the IDOT District pertaining to sign placement by navigating to the Controlled Routes tab of this site.

Q: How do I obtain a Certificate Of Good Corporate Standing?

A: If the business applying for a sign permit is incorporated or an LLC registered in the state of Illinois then we require that the applicant submit a copy of a Certificate of Good Corporate Standing from the Secretary of State’s office. A copy of the Certificate can be found here: http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/

Q: How do I identify Scenic Byways?

A: View IDOT's Scenic Byways webpage or visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's Byway webpage for information on byways.

Need Help?

If you have reviewed this section and FAQ's and still have questions you may email us at DOT.billboards@illinois.gov or call (217) 785-0808 for assistance.