Roadside Memorials Policy and Sign Program

Roadside Memorials

Roadside memorials are often placed at the sites of fatal accidents where family and friends can honor and remember lost loved ones. The City of Papillion understands the devastating impact that loss of life from a traffic accident has on family and friends and the need to grieve for a lost loved one.

While the City of Papillion acknowledges the need some people feel to express themselves in this way, the placement of memorials within a public right-of-way can be a safety hazard. In balancing both the grieving process of family and friends and the safety of the traveling public, the City of Papillion’s policy regarding roadside memorials is as follows:

  • Roadside memorials in the right-of-way are provided a 90-day allowance period.  After 90 days, City staff will provide notice at the memorial site that it will need to be removed within 90 days.
  • If the memorial is not removed after 90 days from the notice, City staff will document and photograph the memorial location, then remove the memorial using the utmost respect.
  • A notice will provide contact information for where memorial items can be picked up. Removed memorials will be stored for 90 days at the Papillion Public Works Department, where they can be picked up. After 90 days in storage, they will be discarded.

Roadside Memorial Program

The roadside memorial program is an official sign, tree or bench that is provided and placed by the Public Works or Parks Department.  A sign may be installed as close as possible to the site where a fatal vehicle accident occurred. Trees and bench locations will be subject to approval by the City. The City currently offers a Commemorative Tree Program that is targeted for City Park’s in honor of a person or event. Please note that Roadside Memorials are not permitted for person whose wrongful conduct was the proximate cause of the crash. If the City's review discloses clear and convincing evidence that the crash resulted from the commission of a serious traffic offense as defined in the State of Nebraska Traffic code, or from the use of a vehicle in the commission of a felony, or from flight from police, the Public Works Department may deny the application and inform applicant in writing. In the event of conflicting wishes among immediate family members or family members of a multiple fatality accident, no memorial will be erected or the memorial will be removed if it's already in place.

The roadside memorials consist of the following:  

  1. Sign - White lettering on a blue background, and contains the message “Please Drive Safely”.  In addition, a white lettering on a blue background rectangular plaque bearing the words “In Memory of (First Name of Fatality”) may be requested to be installed beneath the “Please Drive Safely” sign.  In the event of multiple fatalities and subsequent sign requests at one location, additional first names may be placed on the plaque but only if written permission has been provided from all the families involved.  Please find attached an example of a roadside memorial sign.
  2. Tree – Conifer (4-5 Feet Tall) Pine, Spruce, or Fir, Ornamental – (1-2 Inch Diameter) Bradford Pear, Flowering Crab, Hawthorne, Amur Maple, Shade – (1-2 Inch Diameter) – Oak, Maple, Linden, Hackberry, Locust.  Please note that the location and species selected must not present any sight line or safety issues as determined by the City.  
  3. Bench – Pilot Rock, RJ Thomas Mfg. Co. Model RBB – 24” x 48” with 36” x 60” concrete pad.  

Roadside Memorials may be requested within three years following the date of a fatal motor vehicle accident by a member of the immediate family of the victim. Only one memorial will be permitted per victim and the memorial selected may memorialize more than one victim. If application is approved, the applicant will be informed in writing of the decision along with an invoice for the cost of the memorial that compensates the City for its review of the application, the installation of the roadside memorial and its maintenance. The costs of signs are $200, trees $250 and the cost of a bench will be $700. Upon receipt of the non-refundable payment, the City shall manufacture and install the memorial, and shall notify the applicant in writing when the memorial has been installed. Should the memorial become faded, damaged or stolen overtime, the City reserves the right to remove the memorial without replacement unless a replacement application is received within 90 days from the original applicant. The City reserves the right to deny any application. Should the application be denied, a full refund of the application shall be provided to the original applicant. Once the memorial is installed no additional items will be allowed at any time throughout the year at the demarcated roadside memorial.

Roadside Memorial Application