If you have an old or damaged rural mailbox or one supported by a non-conforming structure, now is a good time to repair or replace it before the ground freezes, advises the Crow Wing County Highway Department.
“Every winter, the highway department receives calls of snowplows damaging mail boxes,” said Jory Danielson, maintenance supervisor. “Most often the damage results from mailboxes that are in a state of disrepair or posts that do not stand up to heavy snow thrown during plowing operations.”
Snowplow operators report any damage that might have occurred on their route. Danielson said each occurrence of mailbox damage is investigated. Repair by county personnel is limited to those mailboxes and supports conforming to standards that were actually hit by the plow equipment.
The highway department reminds residents in Crow Wing County that:
• Rural mailboxes are to be mounted and placed according to Minnesota State Statute 8818.0300, U.S. Postal Service guidelines, and federal highway placement standards.
• It is illegal to place objects on the right-of-way that may cause a hazard to the public or hinder maintenance operations such as snowplowing.
• Mailboxes are the property and responsibility of the resident.
• Mailboxes with damaged or worn latches should be replaced. Wind and heavy snow can cause a mailbox door to fall open if the latch is not working properly.
• Ornamental displays and other types of decorations should not be attached to the mailboxes because these add weight to the structure and may not leave room for maintenance and plowing.
• Newspaper holders should be attached beside (not under) the mailbox utilizing the same support.
Residents along county roads may purchase supports for $25 or request installation for $50 at the highway department office.
A diagram of a standard swing-away type mail box may be viewed at: http://www.co.crow-wing.mn.us/index.aspx?NID=158.
For more information on mailbox placement along county highways, call the Crow Wing County Highway Department at 218-824-1110.