Installing signs within a highway control zone

You need a permit to install a sign within the highway control zone in Alberta.


Applicants must apply for a permit for all proposed signs, including sign information changes, within:

  • 300m beyond the limit of a provincial highway
  • 800m from the centerline of a provincial highway and public road intersection

Permits are issued and subject to the following:

You cannot install or change a sign by a provincial highway before a permit has been issued.

Prohibited types of signs

Signs with the following characteristics are prohibited:

  • displays an intermittent flashing, rotating or moving light
  • floodlights positioned that could distract drivers
  • have any moving or rotating parts
  • bears a legend that gives a command to stop, stop ahead, look, or exercise caution, or similar command
  • imitates the wording of a standard or commonly used highway traffic signs, such as ‘Stop’, ‘Stop Ahead’ or ‘Yield’
  • imitate or resemble a traffic control device, such as traffic signal or traffic signs

Sign recommendations

Signs should follow these general guidelines to improve their visibility and readability:

  • made of reflective material to help ensure they are visible at night
  • be developed professionally, using conventional exterior sign materials
  • use of readable letter styles for improved legibility

Exempted signs

The following categories of signs may receive a permit exemption when certain criteria are met. The applicant granted the exemption must comply with all terms and conditions imposed in the exemption requirement. 

  • Election signs

    During a government election, election signs do not require a permit but must meet specified criteria. Read the guidelines for the safe installation of election signs along provincial highways. If an election sign does not comply with the criteria, it may, without prior notice or compensation, be removed. See Election Sign Recommended Practice for more information.

  • Temporary signs

    Temporary signage provides direction to temporary event sites or information about events. The following temporary signs do not require a permit but must meet specified criteria in the Temporary Signage Recommended Practice:

    • major event
    • minor event
    • real estate
    • garage sales
  • On-premise identification signs

    In Highways Development and Protection Regulation, Section 11(2), a permit is not required for a sign that meets all 3 of the following criteria:

    • The sign identifies a business activity located on the same parcel of land (on-premise) where the sign is located.
    • A permit has been issued for a business activity the sign relates to.
    • The sign is located closer to a building where primary business activity occurs than a highway. The sign must be placed less than 30 metres from either side of the building.

How to apply

To find out what permits your project will need, you can contact District Offices or submit an inquiry or application through the RPATH Portal.

Ensure you attach:

  • a site plan showing proposed sign setback and distance from the highway see example:
  • a diagram that includes the sign’s:
    • dimensions
    • layout, including wording and lettering
    • background colour


Contact the district office for assistance on roadside development permits via RPATH Portal or Contact us.