Mailboxes damaged by snow removal
Private mailboxes are allowed in the highway easement/right-of-way; however, they must be safe and functional. Many residents want unique, decorative installations. Some of these elaborate designs can be very dangerous and are not allowable in the highway easement/right-of-way.
Safely installing, maintaining, and providing access to these mailboxes is the responsibility of the resident. Please refer to the information below for examples and explanations of safe and functional mailbox installation. This information is provided by the Transportation Information Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in their Bulletin No. 14 Mailbox Safety.
Mailboxes: Should be U.S. Postal Service-approved mailboxes. These mailboxes are designed to be safe and functional.
Supports: The Postal Service requires that the bottom of the box be 42 to 48 inches above ground level. The following are recommended standards for supports which ensure that they will break away on impact:
- Pipes should be 1-1/2 inch inside diameter or less.
- Square wood supports should not be larger than 4 inches by 4 inches nominal. Round wood posts should not be larger than 4 inches in diameter.
- Metal channel posts should not weigh more than 2 pounds per foot.
- Imbed supports no more than 24 inches into the ground and do not imbed them in concrete.
- Do not use anchor plates with metal posts. Anti-twist flanges are acceptable as long as they do not project more than 10 inches into the ground. These should be attached to the metal post or pipe with 2-3/8 inch (nominal) muffler clamps. The Federal Highway Administration has published Accepted Safety Hardware. For more information contact the State Division of the Federal Highway Administration.
Siting Mailboxes: In Wisconsin snow removal operations frequently conflict with mailboxes. Several local agencies have developed a standard for mailbox installations
which has been successful in reducing the number of mailboxes damaged or demolished by snow plows.
They recommend placing the box on a 24-inch minimum arm, at a minimum height of 46 inches. The front of the box should be aligned with the outside edge of the shoulder.
Locating mailboxes along the roadside is complicated by many factors other than snow removal. These require balancing the maximum convenience to the patron with safety considerations for highway traffic, and with postal carrier convenience and safety. You must also take into account existing roadside conditions such as proximity to intersections; blind spots caused by curves, hills, and vegetation; and utility poles, guardrails, nearby bridges, and other physical installations.
Please refer to the following installation examples for safe, functional installation standards.
Example of a steel pipe cantilever mailbox support
Example of a wood cantilever mailbox support
Please contact the Highway Department at 920-386-3650 with questions before you install a new mailbox.
Unfortunately even when all of the siting and installation standards are met, mailboxes are damaged or destroyed. Dodge County Highway Department snow removal crews will focus on providing safe traveling conditions; however, snow removal at the mailbox area is the resident's responsibility. The Highway Department's position on mailboxes damaged during snow removal operations is as follows:
1. Mailboxes damaged from snow, ice, or slush resulting from plowing or traffic will not be replaced by
2. Mailboxes damaged by contact with highway maintenance equipment will be repaired or replaced by
Department employees under the following circumstances:
a. The equipment operator or Highway Department supervisor confirms damage by contact of Highway
b. The box and support were in good condition prior to the damage.
c. Highway Department personnel will provide and install a standard U.S. Postal Service-approved mailbox
and a wooden 4x4 support.
3. Replacement of failed or deteriorated installations will be the owner's responsibility.