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What Are the Shipping Restrictions for Overlength Transport?

Many utility pole and equipment transportation projects are laborious affairs. Everyone involved must adhere to safety guidelines to ensure a trouble-free delivery. Moving overlength equipment from point A to B can prove especially challenging.

Overlength equipment is also called oversized, overwidth, and overweight. Despite slight differences in each term's definition, each type of material requires special considerations when being delivered to job sites across the United States.

What exactly is an overlength shipping load? What are the shipping restrictions for overlength transport? What is required for overlength transport? What is the best option you can take to expedite and facilitate such a complex and risky task?

This article answers these questions so you can stay on top of your project with less stress and fewer hassles to deal with.

What is an Overlength Shipping Load?

A wide load or oversize load surpasses the standard legal size that a truck or other vehicle can carry on a particular thoroughfare. Common overlength material includes:

  • bulldozers

  • cranes

  • cultivators

  • excavators

  • harvesters

  • loaders

  • planters

  • tractors

  • utility transformers

  • wood, concrete, and steel utility poles

The Shipping Restrictions for Overlength Transport

A load's weight, width, height, and length factor into determining the limits of transportation. The Federal Highway Administration states that the maximum weight for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is 80,000 pounds with a 20,000-pound limit for single axle weight and a 34,000-pound limit for tandem axle weight. The organization also states that any load is overwidth if it is wider than 8.5 feet and is overlength if it surpasses 48 to 53 inches. However, each state has its own regulations governing load limits, meaning if you want to know the maximum legal width allowed in your state, you must research information pertaining to your state. Since oversize load regulations by state vary, you might have to research multiple states if your transport passes through several regions.

Permits Might Be Required

If you need to haul a wide load or oversize load, get a permit from the state you will be hauling in. If you are traveling from state to state, you will need permits for each state you travel in. Keep in mind that a heavy haul requires specialized trucks and equipment. Some other requirements may include warning signs and pilot cars depending on the size of your load and the state you are traveling.

Why Do I Need Overlength Load Permits?

You might need a permit to legally deliver your oversize and overweight loads. Larger loads carry more risk than smaller freight. Permits help ensure your delivery adheres to local regulations, keeping everyone near the extra wide, overlength, overweight loads safe.

You might be fined if you are caught delivering wide loads without the proper permits. This could cost you money as well as time. Delaying your delivery could result in your missing important deadlines. You can help meet your goals if you have the proper state permits.

What Else is Required for Overlength Transport?

The right hauling trucks

You must choose the right hauling truck to accommodate your freight's size, which should keep you well within the good graces of regulations. Doing so means you must know your load dimensions and weight. From here, you can get the appropriate hauler if you do not have one readily available. Matching your load to the proper hauler all but promises your load will safely arrive at its destination without incident. The wrong hauler could spell doom for your project. Other drivers could become injured or worse. Your company could encounter costly claims and lawsuits. Your job could be on the line.

Safe drivers

Your drivers should have stellar safety records. An inexperienced or unqualified overlength load driver can create opportunities for things to go terribly wrong. Expertise and experience can go a long way in keeping people and cargo safe during a delivery.

Pilot cars

You might need pilot cars to accompany your freight. Pilot cars are escort vehicles that help facilitate safe transportation for everyone on the road, including your delivery drivers. In many areas, oversize loads that are more than 12 feet wide, 14.5 feet high, or 90 to 100 feet long require two pilot cars. Restrictions vary by state so you should check the regulations for each state your transport will pass through.

Proper signage and lights

You will probably need other safety equipment to help alert other drivers on the road. Bright flags and lights are typically required when moving large loads. Flags are usually placed on the corners of the truck. Yellow or red lights can be displayed on top. A sign or banner reading "wide load" or something similar can be placed on the front or rear of the truck. Any signage that tells other drivers that a large load is heading their way can prepare them to adjust their driving for safety.


Shipping overlength materials should not be a last-minute job. You have to obtain the right permits, transportation equipment, pilot cars, and signage. Leaving these tasks until the day before you need to transport your materials can give you and everyone involved a massive headache.

Gathering all of the essential elements beforehand can give you and your team time to breathe. Plus, you can still make your deadline in case issues arise such as permit delays. If you wait, then you will not have much breathing room to complete your project.

Overlength Transport with Blackwood Solutions

Overlength load transport, especially utility pole hauling, requires skill and attention to safety. Moving poles across the country doubles the challenge. Logistics have to be ironed out among all relevant parties. Routes have to be planned. Sometimes haulers can not go through certain areas due to road or bridge restrictions. Alternate routes must be taken. Crossing state lines means acquiring several permits. Researching and purchasing permits can take time. Getting the wrong ones or none at all can hinder the completion of a project. The entire job can get complicated fast.

You do not have to remember the shipping restrictions for overlength transport when you partner with Blackwood Solutions. We can load, deliver, and unload your overlength, overwidth, and overweight items. Additionally, we can remove the burdens of permitting and route planning so you can focus on your other duties.

As an asset-based, oversized load trucking company, we know all the challenges and obstacles project managers like you regularly face. Your job is not easy. Choosing a haul company that acknowledges the difficulties and has the tools to alleviate them can help you meet your deadlines.

The choice is yours. Will you handle all of the responsibilities of overlength transport yourself or outsource the entire job to one of the country's most trusted trucking companies?

Contact us today when you are ready to simplify your overlength transportation issues.



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