PA Homeowners Encouraged to Prepare Mailboxes for Winter

To reduce the chances of a mailbox being damaged by a snowplow this winter, PennDOT encourages homeowners along rural mail routes to ensure their mailbox is properly prepared.

Mailbox damage occurs primarily due to the weight of snow being removed from the road. Since most mailboxes are placed within PennDOT’s legal right-of-way, homeowners are responsible for confirming their mailbox can withstand the weight of snow being thrown from a plow. Generally, this means firmly installing the mailbox as far beyond the roadway shoulder as the postal carrier can reach.

PennDOT offers these tips to help prevent mailbox damage this winter:

• Place a 6-inch to 8-inch piece of reflective tape on the mailbox to help snow plow operators see it at night.
• Remove snow from around the mailbox, but avoid throwing it back onto the road.
• If the mailbox is located within the legal right-of-way and damage was experienced in the past, homeowners may want to consider relocating the mailbox.
• Make sure the mailbox post is firmly supported in the ground.

Homeowners who have followed these tips in the past and have still experienced damaged mailboxes may want to consider installing a cantilever mailbox support that will “swing” a mailbox out of harm’s way. Plans for building the cantilever mailbox support (see attached) can be obtained by visiting PennDOT’s winter Web page at

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 860 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
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