“This maintenance includes removal of snow to allow the postal carrier access to the mailbox,” Huff said, “but snow ridges created by the department’s snow removal operation, that impair the delivery and retrieval of mail from a mailbox, shall be removed by the department during normal snow removal clean-up operations.”
Huff said the postal patron owns the mailbox and “is responsible for its repair if damaged under normal plowing operations. But if the mailbox and post is brought down by a normal plowing operation, WYDOT will reinstall the post and mailbox.”
“The department will use normal care in performing the work as to avoid any damage to the postal patron’s mailbox and post it sits on,” Huff said. “Should the department cause damage, such as striking the mailbox with its equipment, the department will then take responsibility for the damage and make repairs.”
Several years ago, WYDOT replaced mailbox posts with WYDOT’s standard formed-tube support frame, which is designed so that the mailbox-to-post attachments prevent the box from coming loose from the post if a vehicle strikes it. Also, the steel frame collapses upon impact with the vehicle.
“Mailboxes mounted inside state rights-of-way are actually safety hazards for travelers,” Huff said.
WYDOT requires landowners wanting to install new mailboxes along state highways are required to contact WYDOT prior to installing any mailbox along the state roadways. Once contacted, WYDOT personnel will install the new mailbox post, and only then is the postal patron allowed to install the new mailbox.
“WYDOT grants mailbox installations as a privilege,” Huff says. “WYDOT owns the mailbox posts, and to enhance safety of the traveling public, determines the location and installs the mailbox posts. Once the mailbox post is installed, the postal patron then installs the mailbox on the post.”
Studies by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) show at least 70 people die annually in the United States when their vehicles strike mailboxes where the design of the mailbox, and especially its support, can be shown to have contributed to the severity of the accident.