Design & Construction Standards
Traffic and Safety Resources
When vehicles collide with non-crashworthy obstructions on the right-of-way the result can be property damage, personal injury or even death. See the Standards section for approved mailbox installation designs.
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is responsible for making roads and roadsides as safe as feasible.
Where new road construction projects make it necessary to replace mailboxes, DOT&PF removes existing mailboxes and replaces them with crashworthy installations. In all other situations, property owners are responsible for installing and maintaining crashworthy mailbox installations.
Postal Customers install and maintain roadside mailboxes and mailbox supports in accordance with approved designs.
Alaska DOT&PF Mailbox Standard Drawings are viewable and downloadable. DOT&PF has approved mailbox installation designs for use on Alaska's roads.
See the following DOT&PF Standard Drawings:
for wood cantilever mailbox support and location
- for metal mailbox support and design
Wood Cantilever mailbox installations may be used on roads with or without curb and gutter. The “Multiple Box” and “Single Box” Metal Post Supports may only be used on roads with curb and gutter. The “Multiple Box” support is a proprietary product and is available commercially.
Newspaper delivery tubes may be attached beneath the mailbox or on the side of the mailbox support opposite the reflective marker. Newspaper tubes must consist of light sheet metal or plastic construction. The name of the newspaper may be imprinted on the tube; however, no other printing or advertising is allowed. Property owners may install a crashworthy support for a newspaper tube if that property does not have a mailbox installation.
DOT&PF encourages the use of Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Units (NDCBU), sometimes referred to as gang boxes, at locations with numerous mailboxes, such as mobile home parks, apartments, and subdivisions. Due to their size and weight, NDCBUs should be installed off of the highway right-of-way and must be installed outside of the highway clear zone. If possible, gang boxes should be installed on low volume intersecting roadways or on private property. If it is essential for NDCBUs to be located on the right-of-way, DOT&PF must be contacted to designate an acceptable location. DOT&PF is not responsible for the installation and maintenance of NDCBUs. You may contact the United States Postal Service (USPS) regarding information about the installation of NDCBUs.
does my mailbox and support installation need to be an approved design?
Mailboxes are a hazard to the motoring public because of their location on the roadside. Approved mailbox supports are designed to reduce the potential for severe injury or death in the event of a crash. To appreciate the potential damage unapproved mailbox support designs can cause, view the short mailbox crash test videos.
type of mailbox and mailbox supports can I install?
Mailbox designs must be approved by the USPS. These are generally available at local hardware stores. Mailbox installations on state roads must be DOT&PF approved designs. DOT&PF approved designs for mailbox supports and locations are shown in Standards section. Wooden Cantilever supports may be used on roads with or without curb and gutter. The “Multiple Box” and “Single Box” Metal Post Supports may only be used on roads with curb and gutter. The “Multiple Box” support is a proprietary product and is available commercially.
I install custom mailbox supports?
As described in the answer above, USPS approved mailboxes and DOT&PF approved mailbox installation designs are allowed on state roads. Many types of custom and commercially available mailboxes and mailbox supports are potentially hazardous if hit by a vehicle. Only mailbox supports constructed in conformance with DOT&PF approved installation designs available for download above in the are acceptable.
should I label my mailbox?
The USPS provides instructions regarding placement and size of lettering on mailboxes. Note that any advertising on a mailbox or its support is prohibited. Decorative items that add weight to the mailbox are not allowed because they can become hazardous objects if the mailbox is struck by a vehicle.
furnishes the mailboxes and installs mailbox
Where new road construction makes it necessary to replace mailboxes, DOT&PF installs approved mailbox supports at new locations. In all other cases, property owners are responsible for installing and maintaining crashworthy mailbox supports and mailboxes. The mailbox itself must comply with USPS standards. Contact the USPS with questions regarding approved mailboxes.
pays to repair an approved mailbox assembly
that has been knocked down by snow removal
or road maintenance activities?
If DOT&PF knocks down a properly designed and installed mailbox support, it will repair it without cost to the property owner. However, DOT&PF is not responsible for repairing or replacing improperly designed mailbox supports or mailboxes placed improperly in the state’s right of way.
I need a permit for my mailbox?
No. However, all mailbox installations must be constructed in accordance with the approved mailbox installation designs provided in the in order to minimize risk to motorists.
do I contact for more information about
roadside mailbox supports in Alaska?
Contact your DOT&PF Regional Traffic & Safety Engineer’s office. Contact phone numbers are located under Contact Us.
do I contact if my properly designed mailbox
assembly located on a state road is knocked
down by a snow plow?
Contact your local DOT&PF Maintenance & Operations station.
For questions regarding mailbox support design and installation:
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Regional Traffic and Safety Engineer
• Northern Region
• Central Region
• Southeast Region
• United States Postal Service: 907-273-5808.