Wide Load Metrics – Straight-Forward But Variable
Of all the metrics that determine if a cargo load meets over-dimensional shipping criteria, width is the most straight-forward measurement to deal with. Why? Because unlike the other freight shipping metrics of length, height, and weight that go into determining if an over-dimensional permit, or permits, are required, width is the one measurement that is fairly uniform from state to state. Height, weight, and length regulations vary enough between states that determining if, as well as where, when, and how over-dimensional permits are required is a complex business.
If anything that measure more than 102 inches or 8 feet 5 inches, in width, your cargo most likely meets over-dimensional permitting requirements in all states.
But you’re not going to get off completely easy. When it comes to road transportation, road conditions and restrictions make it a requirement that every mile of your route is reviewed to determine if the 102-inch maximum width criteria holds from start to end of your shipping itinerary.
Over width load regulations change according to many factors, and can be reduced on any part of your route due to things such as:
- Bridges - the presence of, and condition of, bridges,
- Lane width – these can vary from one mile to the next; interstate to rural route
- Non-designated roads – specific roads can reduce the width limit to 8 feet and below
- Seasonal restrictions – many states have changing over width criteria in different seasons
And then there are the federal and state exemptions from over dimensional permits for “special mobile equipment” which includes military or farm equipment; road constructions or maintenance machinery, emergency apparatus and equipment, etc.
So you see, even the simplest over dimensional permitting metric is not, in the end, simple. The planning and logistics of flatbed transport starts with cargo measurement. From there, it’s the state-by-state, mile-by-mile route investigation establishing if your shipment exceeds any over width criteria along any portion of the route.
It can be complicated, but an expert effort is worth it – knowing your permit and route restrictions is best known before the load hits the road.