Essential Things You Need to Know About Heavy Haul Trucking

Military equipment, industrial machinery, and other oversized items can present different logistical challenges, especially if you are not adept at transporting them. These shipments usually need additional permits on top of optimized routing and special handling requirements.

The reason behind such strict requirements is that these kinds of equipment may not be allowed on all roadways due to their weight and size.

To make transportation smooth, it is crucial to understand how heavy haul trucking can help. Aside from that, it is also essential to know the weight limits and what oversize load is.

What are the characteristics of heavy haul freight? 

If a shipment or freight exceeds the legal limits for over the road freight transportation, they are tagged as overweight or oversized shipments. The federal government mandates each state to set its own rules regulating overweight and oversized loads.

Though such rules differ, here are some common features of heavy haul freight: 

  • Height: 13.6 feet
  • Width: 8.6 feet
  • Gross Weight: 80,000 pounds
  • Length: Minimum of 48 feet to a maximum of 53 feet

Federal Law Axle Restrictions 

Aside from per state restrictions, overweight and oversized loads are also limited on a per-axle basis. The law provides for the total weight that each axle can carry, and such limitations are provided as follows:

  • Tandem axles: Cannot carry loads beyond 34,000 pounds
  • Drive axles: Cannot carry loads beyond 34,000 pounds
  • Single axles: Cannot carry loads heavier than 20,000 pounds
  • Steer axles: Cannot carry loads beyond 12,000 pounds

If the cargo you are planning to ship goes beyond the weight restrictions, equipment with more axles might be required.

Necessary Permits Required 

Before heavy haul trucking travels, appropriate permits and documentation are needed. You can read more here about how seeking help from industry professionals can help in availing the required permits seamlessly. Usually, these permits are issued per shipment. Regulations on these documentations may vary, and some orders will need municipality, county, or city-specific permissions.

Most of the States issue travel permits that outline the length of time the oversized freight can travel, with details on the operating hours, too. These permits usually give haulers three to five days to travel.

For instance, you are shipping oversized farming equipment through Minnesota. The local government requires a single trip and a machinery permit. These permits will be valid for seven days. And if the said travel happens in winter, the city imposes a limited travel time, with additional permits as requirements. It is wise to know the restrictions and requirements per state to avoid hassles during logistic transfers.

Other Necessary Materials 

All vehicles designated to transport overweight goods are required by law to bear special signage or some travel accommodations.

One of these signages is the yellow banners bearing the text “Oversized Load.” This should be placed on the rear and front of any vehicle traveling or carrying massive shipment. Most of these signages are reversible, with the text “wide load” on the other side.

Red or fluorescent safety flags are also required to be placed at the corners of the vehicle. Also, there are some states requiring vehicles to have yellow rotating LED lights.


Whether you are shipping heavy loads for the first or nth time, knowledge of the requirements and restrictions is vital. Such knowledge can make the shipment reach the destination on time and safely.