‘Shake your mailbox’

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IRON RIVER — Before winter takes hold and snowplows hit the roads, the Iron County Road Commission asks Michigan residents to prepare by shaking their mailboxes this month.
A mailbox is the only object allowed by law that homeowners can place in the road right-of-way. The location and construction of mailboxes must conform to the rules and regulations of the United States Postal Service and nationwide standards established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said Road Commission Superintendent/Manager Doug Tomasoski said.
Information on mailbox rules and regulations are available on the USPS website www.usps.com/manage/mailboxes.htm.
The road right-of-ways vary but are typically 66 feet wide, or 33 feet each direction from the centerline of the road. The right-of-way is maintained by county road agencies and are used for residential and public utility purposes.
Over the years, a mailbox post can rot or become wobbly. By grabbing and shaking it, a resident can know if it’s secure. Snow coming off a plow going 35 miles per hour has surprising force that can topple a wobbly mailbox. And digging a mailbox out and reinstalling it in frozen ground is difficult.
“Our No. 1 job is to maintain a safe and efficient road and right-of-way system,” Tomasoski said. “It is a resident’s responsibility to ensure his or her mailbox is secure.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Iron County Road Commission have policies in place regarding replacement of mailboxes that have been hit by a snowplow. However, road agencies are not responsible for mailbox damage caused by standard snow removal operations. The mailbox replacement policy is at ironcountyroads.com.
Residents should prepare mailboxes for winter by tightening screws and ensuring the post and box are secure enough to endure large amounts of snow that is thrown. If the mailbox moves when shaken, the box may need to be repaired or replaced before winter.
If you have questions on what is permitted, contact the ICRC office at 265-6686.