Several months after Seattle and the state banned floating billboards on Lake Washington, a new one appeared this week alongside the I-90 floating bridge.
The billboard, being towed at low speed by a small boat, touted T-Mobile smartphone services. At 10 a.m. Friday, it appeared off the north side of I-90, near where the bridge begins to rise toward Mercer Island.
The state Department of Transportation tweeted:
@MikeLindblom We do not consent. He does not have a permit and is therefore not in compliance.
It’s not immediately known who is behind the billboard or what DOT might do, if anything.
State law forbids billboards along highways that can be read by persons “of normal visual acuity,” except in industrial or commercial areas, as explained in this 2012 Seattle Times article. Seattle bans in-water signs except for simple versions at maritime businesses, such as a boat-fueling dock.
A controversy arose in May 2012 when Seattle entrepreneur Darran Bruce, founder of iAM Alternative Media, made floating-billboard trial runs on Lake Washington last year, as shown below in the photo furnished by Bruce. Similar signs have been used in other states and countries. A link to KING television news coverage is here.
Meanwhile, a pair of state legislators have proposed a bill to allow companies to pay for naming rights on Washington state highways, bridges and rest areas, as a longshot attempt to recoup maintenance costs, or keep Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls from spiking, as described in this Seattle Times article last week.