DOVER, Del.- Spring is here and many states are sprucing up area highways and roadways. If you drive anywhere these days — and not just in the summer — you've see them, roadside memorials with crosses and flowers to honor the victim of a car accident.
What happens when the very personal act of commemorating the loss of a loved one collides with the need to enforce public safety? Across the country, communities are boggled with how to balance those two issues. In many instances concluding that roadside memorials should be restricted. Other states leave it up to the individual municipalities whether to impose any restrictions, others are slapping on time limits and other rules. One state – Delaware, outright bans the roadside memorials. They are deemed illegal.
"If there is a memorial that is established and we have to come through and do a mowing or cutting operation it will more than likely be removed," said Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Williams. "If there is a name, we will contact that family of the loved one."
DelDOT designed and opened the Delaware Highway Memorial Garden in Smyrna back in 2007. Families of those killed in traffic accident can place memorial bricks to honor their loved ones. There are nearly 700 bricks in honor of the victims.
"The memorial garden is there to take the place of people feeling that they need to do a roadside memorial and they can go there instead," Williams said.
Officials say roadside memorials placed on private property will not be removed. However, they believe the memorial garden is a better alternative than roadside tributes. While Delaware officials tend to look past roadside memorials, they are often removed if they become a safety hazard or driving distraction