Most rural mailboxes are located adjacent to the road to allow for efficient delivery of mail, but placing mailboxes adjacent to a road can be a hazard to the motoring public. Accordingly, the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) has adopted standards for the placement of mailboxes and newspaper delivery boxes along county roads. These standards conform to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Postal Service and are based on A Guide for Erecting Mailboxes on Highways published by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials.

If a mailbox or newspaper delivery box interferes with the traveling public or the function, maintenance, or operation of the county roadway system, it shall be immediately removed by the owner upon notification by WCRC. If the owner has not removed the mailbox, the owner will be issued an Encroachment Removal Order by WCRC in accordance with M. S. A. 9.251, whereupon the owner will be granted 30 (thirty) days to remove the unacceptable mailbox. Thereafter, the mailbox will be removed by WCRC at the owner’s expense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I place my mailbox?

The roadside face of the box shall be offset the following distances:

  • Paved road – the width of the shoulder plus one foot
  • Gravel road – one foot from the edge of the traveled portion of the roadway
  • Curbed street – one foot from the face of the curb

When a mailbox is located on an intersecting road it shall be placed a minimum of 100 feet beyond the center of the intersecting road in the direction of the delivery route. This distance should be increased to 200 feet when the average daily traffic on the intersecting road exceeds 400 vehicles per day.

Where a mailbox is installed in the vicinity of an existing guardrail, whenever practical, it shall be placed behind the guardrail.

What types of mailboxes are acceptable?

  • Mailboxes shall be constructed from sheet metal, plastic, or materials of a similar weight and shall not exceed 11 lbs.
  • No more than two mailboxes shall be mounted on a support structure unless the support structure and mailbox arrangement have been shown to be safe by crash testing and approved by the U. S. Department of Transportation. Newspaper boxes may be mounted below the mailbox on the side of the mailbox support.
  • Multiple mailbox installations must meet the same criteria as single mailbox installations. This requirement precludes the use of a heavy horizontal support member. It is recommended that mailbox supports be separated a distance at least equal to three-fourths of their heights and preferably their full heights above ground. It is also preferred that multiple mailbox installations be located outside the highway clear zone if feasible, such as on a service road or minor intersecting road.
  • A single 4-inch by 4-inch square, 4-inch diameter wooden post, or a metal post with a strength no greater than a 2-inch diameter standard steel pipe and embedded no more than 24 inches into the ground will be acceptable as a mailbox support. A metal post shall not be fitted with an anchor plate but may have an anti-twist device that extends no more than 10 inches below the ground surface. Larger wooden posts may be used provided the posts have drilled holes, and the support design has been shown to be safe by crash testing, approved by the U. S. Department of Transportation.
  • The post-to-box attachment details should be of sufficient strength to prevent the box from separating from the post top if the installation is struck by a vehicle.

Exceptions to the above-listed supports shall not be used unless previously approved in writing by the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

A WCRC truck knocked down my mailbox! When will you fix it?

Mailboxes can be knocked down by WCRC trucks when they plow snow. WCRC’s policy is to replace mailboxes that have been hit by the snow plow. However, WCRC will not repair or replace a mailbox if it was broken by the sheer force of the snow coming off the plow blade. Please call our office at (734) 761-1500, and we will investigate the problem.

During the month of October, Michigan encourages residents to shake their mailbox to make sure it is winter-ready. Residents should prepare mailboxes for winter by tightening screws and ensuring the post and receptacle are secure enough to endure large amounts of thrown snow. If the mailbox moves when shaken, it may not withstand standard snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced before winter.