National oversize load regulations

Updated February 21, 2017

Travelling on interstate highways can be a hassle for a regular car, but for an oversized or over-dimensional load, the trips are twice as slow, twice as dangerous and twice as legally complicated. There are several important regulations to follow when transporting an oversized or over-dimensional load on state and interstate highways, and they are strictly enforced.

Oversized Load Requirements

While individual states have most of the control over oversized loads, there are also federal mandates on oversized loads which travel along interstate highways. Any vehicle travelling with an oversized load must not exceed a maximum weight of 36287kg.. Also, each axle must not be burdened with more than 15422kg., and any single-axle vehicle must not carry more than 9072kg. in weight. These restrictions are a measure to comply with federal bridge requirements, ensuring the safety of the driver, the payload and surrounding vehicles.

Size and Weight Exceptions

Size and weight exceptions can be made for loads meeting certain criteria. While federal law allows for these exceptions, the right to determine the application of these criteria belongs to the state, and additional fees may be procured by the state. To obtain an oversized load permit without meeting size and weight limits, the load must be non-divisible. This means that dismantling the load would either destroy the value of the load, make it unable to ship or require more than 8 hours to disassemble using proper equipment.

Oversized/Overweight Load Permits

Whether you are moving a house, a boat or materials for industrial construction, you must obtain an oversized or overweight load permit. While national law states oversized loads must be permitted, the federal government does not issue oversized or overweight load permits. All states require permits to travel with oversized or overweight loads, which means if you are moving materials across state lines you must obtain permits for each state you pass through.

Permit Cost

Permit cost is usually based on how heavy and wide the load is as well as the number of counties you are travelling through. Additional fees such as administration fees, tax and county fees are also common. In the state of Texas, for example, the base fee for an oversized load permit is £48; with administration, county and tax fees applied, however, the price is £165 to travel through a single county with an oversized load.

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About the Author

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.