When your load exceeds any dimension or weight restrictions established by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHA) or by any of the states where the cargo will transit through, your shipment is considered oversized or overweight.

It is important to note that despite the restrictions set by the FHA for commercial vehicles on the interstate highway system, some states have exceptions called ‘grandfathered or acquired rights’.

Below are the FHA’s maximum limits dimensions/weight:

  • Weight: 80,000 gross vehicle weight.
    20,000 pounds single axle weight. 34,000 pounds tandem axle weight. However, 38 states have some type of grandfathered weight restriction that is different from FHA rules.
  • Height: 13 feet 6 inches
    Most states have settled on 13 feet 6 inches as the maximum allowable height. Some states allow 14 feet in height, and two states (Colorado, and Nebraska) stretch that limit to 14 feet 6 inches. Only one state has a taller height limit: Alaska, which has a 15-foot height limit.
  • Width: 8 feet 6 inches
    All states conform to this standard, except Hawaii. In Hawaii, the maximum width is 9 feet (108 inches).
  • Length: 65 feet
    Almost all state length limits are between 53 feet and 75 feet. Only Georgia, at 100 feet, is longer.

Recommendations and Best Practices

Know your shipment and provide your transportation provider with accurate information!

  • Make sure you have accurate information on the load. It’s crucial to know the exact dimensions and count every inch since permits requirement will depend on these measurements and a slight discrepancy may result in shipping disruptions.
  • Make sure to communicate specific load descriptions and many times the carrier must have pictures of the load.
  • Another important point is to know the characteristics of the location where the load will be picked up: how are the conditions of the road, the access to the load, how the load will be loaded into the designated equipment, etc.
  • Before finalizing the move, you must communicate the load description to your transportation provider in your documentation. Knowing what equipment and tools to load, secure, and move your shipment safely is essential. Before starting the transportation process, specify all the additional handling requirements.

Plan Ahead

Take your time to research and make sure you know what you need. Allow your transportation provider to secure proper equipment and permits. Work some planning time into your shipping schedule to minimize the risks, which may result in significant time and losses.

You may need escorted shipping services, a special vehicle, or other assistance. Typically, loads larger than 12 feet wide, or 14 and ½ feet high, or exceeding 90 to 100 feet in length, require two escort cars or pilot cars. Pilot cars drive in front of and behind the oversize load to ensure safe transportation for everyone on the road.

Visibility (TMS)

Using a transportation management system (TMS) becomes even more crucial when shipping oversize freight. Access to a TMS significantly increases visibility when planning and executing the shipment of products. Promptus uses a friendly TMS system and access is shared with our customers.

Find a Transportation Company

A critical step in arranging a heavy haul shipment is partnering with a reliable third-party logistics company. An experienced shipping partner will execute the most burdensome work, including finding the right carrier, negotiating the price, getting permits, and more.

Promptus has over two decades of experience dealing with complex loads. Contact us for your next project! Tel. 305-687-1405 or email us at info@promptus.us.