Adams Outdoor Advertising, which has a two-sided billboard along McKee Road in Fitchburg, sued the city of Fitchburg on Wednesday because a newly built bike bridge blocks one side of the billboard.
In a separate lawsuit, Adams is also seeking to reverse the city’s denial of its bid to make the other side of the billboard digital, which the city contends is in violation of its sign ordinance.
The lawsuits involve a billboard that stands along a bridge on the Cannonball path that crosses McKee Road, also called Highway PD. Adams has also sued the city of Madison over another Cannonball bridge that crosses the Beltline because that bridge also blocks an Adams billboard.
Fitchburg City Attorney Mark Sewell said Thursday that the lawsuits were expected as a deadline approached for Adams to take legal action. He said that Adams and the city will both ask the court to stay the lawsuits so that they can continue discussions about the billboard.
In its lawsuit, Adams claims that the west-facing side of the billboard, which has been in place since 2008, is completely blocked by the Cannonball bridge, which crosses McKee Road just east of Verona Road.
Adams said it was not consulted as the bridge was planned and built.
The loss of the west-facing side of the billboard has caused a loss of $150,000, Adams states in the lawsuit. The loss of that side of the sign has also interfered with contracts in place with advertisers, Adams said.
Adams also claims that the city has unjustly denied its application to convert the east-facing side of the sign to a digital sign. Fitchburg Zoning Administrator Tom Hovel denied the application, and that decision was upheld by the Fitchburg City Council last month.
The lawsuit states that the Fitchburg sign ordinance prohibits “flashing, alternating, rotating or swinging” signs. Adams said in its lawsuit that it was told by the city that a digital sign is considered an alternating sign that would be distracting to motorists.