top of page

FAQ About Overlength Shipping Loads

Measuring your shipment length, you may inwardly (or outwardly) groan when you discover that your materials are overlength.

Overlength materials mean a lot more paperwork and requirements you have to meet to get the supplies to your project worksite.

With their seemingly endless paperwork, overlength materials can delay the supply chain and your project if they are not handled properly—leaving you awake at night wondering if your project will ever be able to start.

But you could navigate the process—and the paperwork—much better if you had more knowledge about overlength shipping loads.

Keep reading to find the knowledge you need for overlength transportation!

Common Questions

Hauling oversized freight can be complicated, so we will start with the basic information. Here are some common questions about shipping oversized loads and the answers to these questions:

What is an Oversized Shipping Load?

There are many different measurements that determine the limits for shipping loads, including weight, width, height, and length.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the maximum weight for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is 80,000 pounds in total vehicle weight. There is also a 20,000 pound limit for single axle weight and a 34,000 pound limit for tandem axle weight.

If your load is over the FHWA’s weight limitations, you will have to unload some of the cargo and reduce your gross weight because you are not permitted to haul overweight loads. Or you might need a heavy hauler to move the load if you can’t reduce the weight.

There are width limitations as well; any load is overwidth if it exceeds 8.5 feet. Your load is overlength if it exceeds 48-53 inches. But each state has its own specific regulations, so be sure to research the legal limits for the state you will transporting in.

What are the Requirements for Hauling Overlength Loads?

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 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 need an oversize hauling permit because larger loads carry more risk than undersized loads. These permits will allow you to transport the high-risk load and will also ensure that you adhere to certain safety regulations.

Additionally, you will be fined if you do not have a permit, or you may not be allowed to move. In either scenario, it will cost your project time and money, so avoid the delays and get the right permits.

When are Pilot Cars Required?

Loads that are more than 12 feet wide, 14.5 feet high, or 90-100 feet long require two pilot cars. One car will drive in front of the load, and one car will drive behind it. This helps ensure safe transportation for everyone on the road. Though some oversize—overweight, overheight, and overlength—restrictions can vary by state, so check the regulations for pilot cars in the states you will be traveling through.

How to Transport Overlength Materials

Next, we have some steps you can follow to make sure you are ready to ship your overlength materials.

Prepare Ahead of Time

When shipping overlength materials, you need to carefully plan the transportation beforehand. Do a route survey to choose roads the load can go on. Also, acquire the necessary permits for any state the load will go through.

Depending on the load length, you may need two pilot cars for your transportation, and you’ll want to secure those cars ahead of time.

Some wide loads require wide load warning signs on the front and back of the truck. Acquire these signs long before the shipment is ready so you have them when you need them.

Hire a Transportation Company

Hauling overlength materials by yourself is never advisable. You want to hire a reliable overlength hauling company to transport your load. They should have plenty of hauling experience and should ensure all the regulations are met.

This transportation company should also prioritize safety, as they will be hauling a high-risk load. You do not want to incur steep fines or risk anyone getting hurt.

Choose Blackwood Resources

Are you looking for a transportation company that can help you haul your overlength materials, like utility poles, pilings, and pipes? Blackwood Resources can help.

With over 5 years of experience in the utility industry, we have hauled many overlength loads— our equipment can haul materials up to 90 feet long. We also have specialized trucks that will unload the oversized materials for you, saving you money and time in unloading.

We pride ourselves on hiring the best professional operators, and they will make the transportation and unloading process look easy while keeping everyone safe.

Don’t let your overlength shipping load keep you up at night. Contact Blackwood Resources today at 812-676-8770 or



bottom of page