Navigating Federal and State DOT Oversized, Overweight Transport Permit Requirements
An oversized load is simply anything the exceeds the maximum weight, height, width, or length dimension established by federal and state standards. Easy right?
Traveling over federal interstates and other federally designated highways are subject to federal standards on weight, width, and length (there are no federal height restrictions.) Overlaying these standards are state standards which can vary state-to-state, and within each state, from road-to-road. The easy part of transporting heavy equipment, construction material, farm equipment, or specialized mobile units is the actual loading, securing, and transporting the load. The toughest part may prove to be navigating the restrictions and permitting processes required for a route.Typical permit requirements are triggered when the following dimensions are exceeded for a single load:
- Height - exceeds 13’5”
- Width - exceeds 8’5”
- Length - exceeds 48’
- Weight - exceeds 80,000 lbs
These dimensions are starting points when determining if a load falls under Department of Transportation over-sized permitting requirements. These vary by state, by road, by federal exception, grandfathered standards or other federal, state, or even local requirements and restrictions.
For example, permitting questions to transport a oversized load through Kentucky takes into consideration the following the Kentucky Department of Transportation standards:
- Multi-lane highway versus two-lane
- Travel time restrictions
- Holiday restrictions
- Escort requirements for two versus 4-lane highways
- Power unit flax, signing, and lighting requirements
- Current detours, restrictions, and closures
- Hauling coal or coal-products
- Single trip versus annual permits
When traveling through multiple states, loads are required to meet state standards of load restrictions, permitting requirements, and other state-by-state standards.
This is the tip of the iceberg. There are many more details then the basics presented here to be aware of when making final routing and permitting decisions. Understanding the multiple, overlapping, and changing oversized load transporting requirements is critical to meeting federal and state regulations.
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