Tourist-oriented directional sign panels shall be erected and maintained by or at the direction of the Department of Transportation within the right-of-way of rural highways which are part of the state highway system to provide tourist-oriented information to the traveling public in accordance with sections 39-207 to 39-211.
For purposes of such sections:
(1) Rural highways means (a) all public highways and roads outside the limits of an incorporated municipality exclusive of freeways and interchanges on expressways and (b) all public highways and roads within incorporated municipalities having a population of forty thousand inhabitants or less as determined by the most recent federal decennial census or the most recent revised certified count by the United States Bureau of the Census exclusive of freeways and interchanges on expressways. Expressway, freeway, and interchange are used in this subdivision as they are defined in section 39-1302; and
(2) Sign panel means one or more individual signs mounted as an assembly on the same supports.