The City of Madison Engineering Division will allow temporary signage in the public right of way when businesses access is changed due to a street construction project. Temporary signage is used to direct patrons around and through the construction area. Only approved temporary business signs are permitted in the public right of way and all signs must be removed when normal access is restored to the business.

If you wish to place any of the types temporary signs described below, please fill out the permit for a temporary sign. No fee is charged for the temporary signs. It is important that you obtain the permit prior to ordering the signs.

Application for Temporary Business Sign Permit

Return completed Temporary Business Sign application to:

City of Madison - Engineering Division
210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Room 115
Madison, WI 53703

Approved signs will have a sticker placed on the sign to identify that sign as being approved. All signs must be removed by the expiration date shown on the sticker. Signs placed without an approved application or signs which are up beyond the expiration date will be removed.

Types of Temporary Business Signs

Driveway Signs

These are allowed to be placed at your driveway when your driveway is under construction. They help to tell motorists where to turn as the construction can make it difficult for motorists to find the driveway. The business provides and installs this sign.

  • Description - A sign placed at your driveway to help distinguish where to turn.
  • Maximum Size of sign - 48" x 48"
  • Background Sign Color - White
  • Letter size - 4 inch minimum
  • Letter Color - Black
  • Logo Allowed - Yes
  • Mounting Options - Sandwich Board Style Desired - two sheets of plywood with a hinge at the top and a chain at the bottom.
  • Placement - Must be behind traffic control drums.
  • Other Information - Signs must be on one side only for right turns. (Signs on both sides encourages illegal and dangerous left turns into the driveway)

Alternate Business Access Signs

These signs are not available on all projects. When included in the project, the contractor will install alternate business access signs and businesses may attach their sign below the Alternate Business Access Sign. These signs state "Alternate Business Access" and have an arrow on them. They are placed in advance of intersections to inform motorists where to turn. When Alternate Business Access signs are provided by the City, they are the only signs that will be permitted on the major street or highway under construction other than the Driveway Sign. The business provides the sign and the sign is installed by the project's contractor below the sign with the words "Alternate Business Access" on it.

  • Description - As part of the project, "Alternative Business Access" (ABA) Signs will be placed along the project. The intent of these signs is to promote traffic to use the signalized intersections to find alternative access to the businesses. Businesses are provided an opportunity to place a sign below this ABA sign to help customers to your businesses. The signs will be placed for East Washington Avenue traffic in advance of signalized intersections. These signs must be very uniform in size and appearance.
  • Maximum Size of sign - 8" X 36"
  • Background Sign Color - White
  • Letter size - 4 inch block style
  • Letter Color - Black
  • Logo Allowed - Yes
  • Mounting Options - N/A, Sign will be mounted by the project below the standard Alternate Business Access Sign also installed by the project.
  • Placement - Signs locations are generally in advance of signalized intersections.
  • Other Information - The purpose of the sign is to inform customers of the most direct route to your business.

Directional Signs

Directional Signs are placed as a way finding sign and are used when the normal route to your business is not possible due to construction. These signs are used on streets where the City has not provided the above Alternate Business Access Sign. Directional Signs will not be permitted for the purpose of advertising on routes to your business not effected by the construction. The business provides and installs these signs.

  • Description - A sign placed on a side street (not permitted on East Washington Avenue) to direct customers to your business. They will generally contain your business name and an arrow pointing toward your business.
  • Maximum Size of sign - 48" x 48"
  • Background Sign Color - White
  • Letter size - 4 inch minimum
  • Letter Color - Black
  • Logo Allowed - Yes
  • Mounting Options - On Wisconsin DOT Type I barricade supplied by the business or Sandwich Board Style - two sheets of plywood with a hinge at the top and a chain at the bottom.
  • Placement - Placement should be in the terrace, not conflicting with existing traffic control. The location must be approved by the Project Engineer.

General Criteria

  • The signs will not obstruct the view of, or interfere with official traffic control devices such as signs and barricades, or obstruct the view of drivers entering or traveling on the highway. Signs shall be placed to allow at least 6 feet of clearance from edge of shoulder to edge of sign, or at least 2 feet from back of curb to edge of sign (per MUTCD 2A.19).
  • For uniformity and readability, the lettering shall be black block style letters, minimum 4" high, on a white background. Red, orange, fluorescent lime green or other colors will not be allowed.
  • The Field Staff will coordinate the design and placement of the signs with the owner, and will grant or deny approval. All approved signs, their design and locations, will be documented on the permit form.
  • The signs will be erected and removed at the expense of the applicant.
  • Signs not removed within 48 hours of notification to do so will be removed and the cost billed to the permittee.