Last Tuesday they were tools - instruments aimed at bringing victory to its owner.

For some it was a means to success, but for others it served as a last reminder of defeat following a hard-fought battle.

We're talking about campaign signs, the multi-worded and multi-colored messages that inundated our roads for several months prior to last week's mid-term election.

We couldn't help but know who was running for what office, because we couldn't drive a quarter of a mile without encountering a slew of these signs, strategically placed to remind us who we ought to vote for.

There are arguments about how effective campaign signs are. Do they work, or do they just irritate us, much like the deluge of pre-election campaign commercials that interrupt our television watching?

But one thing's for certain. Last week's campaign signs are this week's litter. And there's too much of it still out there for us to ignore.

And they don't belong messing up our landscape any more.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding candidates to remove their campaign signs from state roads and highways.

"We ask candidates to help keep Pennsylvania beautiful by taking responsibility for removing their own signs," District Executive Michael W. Rebert, P.E. said. "Whether you've won or lost your election, be a winner by cleaning up your signs."

When PennDOT workers have to remove campaign signs, it takes them away from working on important highway maintenance and safety projects.

Campaign signs left along roadways may pose the following risks:

Reduced sight distance at intersections;

Possible harm to animals (wire posts could cut animals, and the plastic signs could be mistakenly eaten by animals);

Plastic signs that blow off their posts could clog drains; and

Wire posts left behind may cause safety hazards to PennDOT employees when they mow roadside vegetation.

PennDOT thanks those candidates who have already removed their signs.

For the rest of you who procrastinated following the election, get out there, or get your workers out there to clean up the landscape. We're sick of looking at your signs.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com