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Roadside sign ban in Fairfax County leads to clean-up

Tuesday - 7/9/2013, 4:08pm  ET

Prisoners from the Sheriff's Community Labor Force pick up roadside signs to enforce the new ban. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

FAIR LAKES, Va. Signs for SAT prep, closeout sales and massages clutter the intersection of Fair Lakes Parkway and West Ox Road.

They can be an eyesore and a safety hazard. Soon, they will be gone from the roadways in Fairfax County.

Fair Lakes Parkway and West Ox Road are part of the 200 miles of highway on 63 major roads now targeted by a ban on such signs. Prisoners from the Sheriff's Community Labor Force will now be picking up the signs from Tuesday to Thursday every week to enforce the ban.

The signs will be kept for five days so the owners can claim them. After that, they will be thrown away.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, says the signs create a safety hazard.

"During election season, when things get out of hand, people will complain, big time," she says.

Sign removal began last week. A crew of non-violent prisoners, who are escorted by sheriff's deputies, has picked up as many as 400 signs on some days.

The sign owners are not currently being fined, but that could change, since the ordinance banning them carries a $100 fine per sign.

Bulova says they will not pick up such signs Friday through Monday, to allow for the promotion of one-time weekend events.

The sign removal program is costing Fairfax County about $150,000 per year. Bulova says the sign ban does not apply to private property.

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