TDOT: Highway graffiti at 5-year high - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TDOT: Highway graffiti at 5-year high

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It's costing you money. Graffiti on Tennessee's interstates and highways has tripled in the past five years.

Lanes are closed, slowing traffic as Tennessee Department of Transportation crews work to remove the painted graffiti. Each removal process costs $350-1,000 in materials and staff hours.

Graffiti removal is just one of many jobs handled by TDOT work crews on Tennessee interstates and state routes.

In recent years, work reports for graffiti removal have greatly increased, according to TDOT. 

TDOT's Jennifer Flynn tells Channel 3 that "In addition to being unsightly, graffiti is costly to taxpayers and could cause a safety issue if it either covers information or reduces reflectivity of a sign.  The most frustrating part about graffiti is that TDOT maintenance crews assist in the removal, and that takes time away from them from doing other things, like patching potholes."

In Tennessee, it is a misdemeanor to vandalize state property, punishable with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. Individuals who report information to law enforcement that leads to an arrest and conviction of the violator can receive a $250 reward. 

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