Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) arrows logo

Interpretation Letter 2(09)-61 (I) — Mandatory Movement Lane Control Signs

PDF Version, 673KB

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®.

DOT Logo

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590

November 14, 2012

In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1

Joe Passanise, P.E.

Dear Mr. Passanise:

Thank you for your November 2 e-mail message requesting an official interpretation concerning Section 2B.20 Mandatory Movement Lane Control Signs.

Your e-mail message describes a situation where a single lane approach, Von Gontard Drive, to a T-Intersection with the cross street, Ballas Road, results in a left turn prohibition through No Left Turn signs from Von Gontard Drive onto Ballas Road. The intersection is marked with two No Left Turn signs. You are asking if Section 2B.20 Mandatory Movement Lane Control Signs of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires the installation of a Mandatory Movement Lane Control (R3-7) sign with the legend "RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT" on the single lane approach, Von Gontard Drive.

MUTCD Sections 2B.18, 2B.19 and 2B.20 provide insight into your request. Section 2B.18 Movement Prohibition Signs contains the standard statement "where specific movements are prohibited, Movement Prohibition signs shall be installed." This statement requires Movement Prohibition signs be installed where specific movements are prohibited. In your example this would be the NO LEFT TURN signs for the no left turn requirement. Section 2B.19 Intersection Lane Control signs describe the intersection lane control signs which include Mandatory Movement Lane Control signs and states that "Intersection Lane Control signs, if used, shall require road users in certain lanes to turn." The key part of the statement is the phrase "if used." "If used" denotes that the Intersection Lane Control signs are not required to be used. If the Intersection Lane Control signs are used, then the standard statements would apply. Section 2B.20 specifically addresses Mandatory Movement Lane Control signs. In this instance, the phrase "mandatory movement lane control signs" signifies that the movement from the lane is mandatory, not that the use of the sign is mandatory. Section 2B.20 also uses the phrase "if used." The section specifically states, "if used, the Mandatory Movement Lane Control (R3-5, R3-5a, and R3-7) sign shall indicate only the single movement that is required from the lane." Once again the term "if used" signifies that the Mandatory Movement Lane Control signs are not required to be used; where specific signs are required, as in Section 2B.18, the words "shall be installed" are used.

It is the FHWA's official interpretation that Section 2B.20 of the MUTCD does not require the installation of Mandatory Movement Lane Control signs and their installation and use should be based on the engineering judgment of the traffic official with jurisdiction over the roadway.

We have numbered and titled this Official Interpretation as "2(09)-61 (I) — Mandatory Movement Lane Control Signs." If you have further questions on this matter, please contact Mr. Eric Ferron of our MUTCD Team at 720-963-3206 or

Thank you for your interest in the uniformity of regulatory signs on our streets and highways.

Sincerely yours,

Original signed by:

Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations