Work in Right-of-Way

The Linn County Secondary Road Department strives to provide safe roads for all within the county. Policies and Iowa Code establish what is allowed within the county right-of-way and what activities require permission or a permit. Creating safer roadways requires effort and cooperation from property owners, drivers, law enforcement, utilities and road crews.


The permit process is used to work with the property owner or contractor to ensure the work within the right-of-way is completed with traffic safety standards maintained. The process also helps minimize the chance of unplanned expenses that could result if the homeowner's project disturbs the right-of-way or requires county crews to perform maintenance, such as trimming trees in the right-of-way.

Permits are needed to:

No permit is needed to:

  • Maintain a driveway
  • Mow grass
  • Install a mailbox


The Secondary Road Department works to provide a "clear zone" along all county roads to enhance safety. A clear zone is defined as the roadside border area within the right-of-way that is available for recovery by errant vehicles. Clear zones need to be free of obstructions to ensure they remain a safe place for vehicles.


Mailboxes with more than two standard mailboxes and more than one 4x4 support are obstructions and need to be modified to break-away standard for safety reasons. Reduce the risk of damage to your mailbox by ensuring your property meets County and Iowa Code standards.

For mailboxes:

  • Keep mailbox in good condition
  • Use breakaway support
  • Align front of mailbox with edge of shoulder
  • When possible install mailbox to the left of the driveway

Reflectors & Signs

The allowed use of reflectors and signs is specified in the Iowa Code. Only blue reflectors are permitted to be used in the right-of-way, as they tie in with the E-911 sign color. Signs for the campaigns, yard sales, advertising, real estate and any others not provided for in the traffic sign manual are not allowed within road rights-of-way because they can reduce visibility. To avoid replacing and relocating these signs, place them on private property with permission from the owner. Any reflectors or signs found in violation of the code will be removed by road crews.

Locate Your Right-of-Way

It is important to know where the county right-of-way is adjacent to your property, as well as where your property line falls, when looking to put up a fence, plant a tree or do any other kind of work in the ditch area.

Find your property information with our GIS tool.