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Overlength Hauling Basics

Overlength hauling is not as simple as loading cargo onto a flatbed and driving it to its destination. You have to consider load sizes, regulations, permitting, and more. Hauling oversize loads also entails juggling a lot of paperwork just to get your equipment to your job site.

You can still struggle with keeping your supply chain running smoothly even if you know the basics of overlength hauling. Just one wrong measurement or missing permit can delay your equipment from arriving on time at your work site, jeopardizing your project’s completion.

How do you know if your load requires a permit? How can you haul an oversize load? Can you legally haul a load that exceeds a certain length? How many feet wide is a street-legal load?

This article explores overlength hauling basics to remind seasoned project managers about the intricacies of the process and to inform managers who are about to tackle their first project.

What is an Overlength Load?

Any load that surpasses the length allowed for standard vehicles is an overlength load. There is no federal overlength standard in the United States. The general length standards across the country state that loads can extend up to 73 feet depending on the circumstances.

Since each state has its own regulations, you would have to research the legal limits for the state (or states) you will be transporting in. The United States Department of Transportation offers a great resource that lists each state’s permit point of contact. You can get in touch with the right people and ask them whether or not your load is considered overlength.

Length, however, is not the only measurement you have to account for in hauling equipment.

Size Matters: Load Weight, Width, and Height Limits

In addition to length, you have to factor in your load’s weight, width, and height. While there are no federally-mandated values for height and length, your load weight and width are governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. States regulate load heights.


The maximum weight for the U.S. National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is 80,000 pounds in total vehicle weight. The single axle weight limit is 20,000 pounds. The tandem axle weight limit is 34,000 pounds.

If your load exceeds these weight limitations, then you will be forced to unload some of your load to decrease your gross weight. Alternatively, you could use a specialized hauler to deliver your heavy equipment.


A load is considered overwidth when it is wider than 8.5 feet.


Most height limits in the United States range from 13.6 feet to 14 feet. As with length limits, you should consult your state’s permitting office for accurate information.

You’ll Probably Need a Permit (or Two)

If you plan to haul an overlength load, you might need a permit to do so. You should remember that you will need a permit for each state your load passes through. If you are transporting your equipment through multiple states, then you might need multiple permits.

Since overlength and other oversize loads are larger than typical cargo, they carry more risk. Permits authorize you to haul loads because you agree to follow the regulations that can keep everyone involved and other drivers safe.

Hauling oversize loads without a permit can be costly. You could be fined and/or prevented from hauling your load. Can your project afford this costly delay?

Pilot Cars

Depending on your load and your state’s regulations, you might need pilot cars to accompany your load. Typically, one pilot car will be in the front of the hauler and the other in the rear.

Although restrictions vary by state, loads that are more than 12 feet wide, 14.5 feet high, and/or 90 to 100 feet long usually require two pilot cars.

If your load exceeds 12 feet in width and you are not sure if you need a pilot car, contact your state’s permit office and ask them.

Plan Your Route

You should obviously know where your load is going. Conducting route surveys ahead of time can help you choose the quickest path and let you know whether you need any permits or not.

The Most Important Thing to Know

Permits grant you permission to haul your load. Route surveys can show you the best way to get from point A to point B. However, the most important thing you should know about overlength hauling is that you need the right trucks and personnel to safely deliver your cargo.

It might sound silly but overlooking all of the work that goes into obtaining trucks, drivers, and riggers can create headaches down the road. You can spend a lot of time renting trucks, hiring workers, and scheduling all of these elements to work together. If you overlook this aspect, then you might be adding hefty expenses that your budget might not cover. Fortunately, you can avoid this unnecessary complication.

Blackwood Resources Keeps It Simple

Oversize loads require more than pulling out a tape measure and jotting down some figures. An oversize, overweight load can challenge the unprepared. They can also tax the most experienced project managers.

Heavy haul transportation companies like Blackwood Resources can do more than load, deliver, and unload your overlength, overwidth, and overweight loads. We can remove the hassles of permitting and route surveys so you can focus on all of your other duties.

Some trucking companies will deliver your load to your job site and leave you to handle the unloading. Doesn’t that seem like a half-done job? How does that help you finish your project on time? Doesn’t that seem like it creates more work?

We specialize in transloading and utility pole hauling. Our adept team of drivers uses special flatbed hauling trucks to safely deliver your load to your job site. Our trucks have everything needed to load and unload. No riggers are required.

Once the poles arrive at your job site, our drivers will use the crane attached to the truck to lift your cargo from the flatbed and place it on the ground. We can finish any overlength hauling job you need. It can be that simple.

We are proud of our stellar record of safety and proficiency. Partnering with us gives you control of your haul minus all of the headaches. You do not have to research permits or keep up with local regulations. You do not have to seek pilot cars or pore over road maps.

Leave the trucking expertise to us. We can take on the responsibility of transporting your overlength hauling.

One wide load can create many problems. Don’t let them sink your project. Please contact us today.



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