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2022 Alabama State Shipping Regulations

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Alabama DOT oversize and over weight trucking permit laws.
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2022 Alabama State Dot Oversize and Heavy Haul Trucking Shipping Laws, Rules, Regulations, Limitations, Permits, and Pilot Car Requirements

 

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Do I Need a Trucking Permit? Legal Load Limits

Below are the maximum load limits in Alabama 

  • Length: The maximum allowed trailer length is 57 feet (17.37 meters), including combinations.
  • Width: 8 feet and 6 inches (2.59 meters) wide for most roads, 8 feet (2.43 meters) for roads under 12 feet (3.65 meters) in width.
  • Height: 13 feet and 6 inches (4.11 meters) tall.
  • Weight: 80,000 pounds (36287.39 kilograms) gross (GVW).
  • Overhang: 4 feet (1.21 meters) off of the rear and 5 feet from the front of the trailer.

Routine Oversize and Heavy-haul Trucking Permits in Alabama

Below are the maximum dimensions and weights of load shipping permits in Alabama
  • Length:150 feet (45.72 meters) maximum length overall.
  • Width: 16 feet (4.87 meters). If the shipment is over 16 feet wide, you are not permitted to use the interstate system.
  • Height: 16 feet (4.87 meters) in total height.
  • Weight: on a single axle; 22,000 pounds (9979 kg), tandem axles: 44,000 pounds (19958 kg), tridum axles: 66,000 pounds (29937 kg), quadem axles: 88,000 pounds (39916 kg), 5 axles: 102,000 pounds (46266 kg), 6 axles: 124,000 pounds (56245 kg), 7 axles: 146,000 pounds (66224 kg), 8 axles: 168,000 pounds (76203 kg).
  • Overhang: 20 feet (6.09 meters) maximum.
    Notes: Alabama state permitting department no longer uses the metric system. On shipments over any of the above dimensions or 180,000 pounds. Proceed to the super load section below for more information. Loads with weight restrictions are subject to a bridge analysis.

Learn More About Super Load Transport in Alabama 

Alabama State DOT will classify any shipment over the following wight and dimensions as a super load:
  • Weight: over 250,000 pounds (113398.0 kilograms) of gross weight.
  • Length: over 150 feet (45.72 meters) long.
  • Width: over 16 feet (4.87 meters) in width.
  • Height: over 16 feet in height.

Anything of this nature will require special ALDOT approval. Detailed drawings will be required and need to include shop drawings of the item being shipped, the truck, and trailer axle weights and spacings for both truck tractor and trailer. A letter from the manufacturer is required to certify the shipment is reduced to the lowest possible size and weight configuration and explain why it can not be shipped by other means, such as by barge or port. Loads exceeding 150,000 pounds (68038.8 kilograms)are subject to a full-scale structural bridge analysis if bridges are along the route. In addition, a special weight authorization (SWA) is required from the permit office to initiate the necessary bridge rating section investigation. Night travel (9 PM – 6 AM) may be required with a state trooper or police escort (minimum of 2 when traveling). A route survey will probably be required. The Alabama State Troopers Association handles all police/trooper escorts scheduling after your super load permit has been issued. A lighting system configured from strobe warning lights must be placed on each extremity of the shipment in addition to basic requirements such as flags and oversize load signs. All railroad crossings have to be identified, and the railroad notified of the date and time you intend to cross. ALDOT will more than likely verify this with the railroad and not issue a super load permit until verified. It’s the carrier’s responsibility to notify the railroad of each intended crossing. You will find a small plaque with a phone number and a “crossing number” that identifies each crossing for submitting cross requests at each rail crossing. A bucket truck is required to accompany loads that exceed 16 feet and 5 inches (5.0 meters) in height, and it’s the carrier’s responsibility to show proof of “utility notification” for shipments above 16 feet and 6 inches (5.02 meters) in height. City or county approval is required for Alabama super loads as well. 

Lights, Safety Flags, and Warning Signs for Heavy Haul and Oversize Loads in Alabama

Here are the required safety markings, safety flags, and warning lights for heavy haul and oversize loads in Alabama

A sign will need to be mounted on the front and rear of any overwidth or overlength truck and trailer or combinations. Banners/signs need to be a minimum of 7 feet (2.13 meters) in width, 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) in height, and marked with black letters of no less than 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) in height, with a minimum of a 1-5/8 inch (4.12 centimeters) line thickness on a yellow or orange background. The actual words required are “OVERSIZE LOAD.” Red flags must be a minimum of 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) square and placed at all 4 outermost corners of all over-dimensional shipments.

When Are Pilot Cars or Escort Vehicles Required When Transporting an Oversize Load in Alabama?

Heavy-haul or oversize loads may require to be accompanied by an escort vehicle or pilot car if:
  • The load is over 15 feet, and 6 inches (4.72 meters) in height, 1 front pilot car (escort vehicle) is required, and a height pole adjusted 4-6 inches (10.16 – 12.7 centimeters) higher than the actual shipment.  On some routes, a high pole pilot (escort) may be required for even less heights.
  • The shipment is above 12 feet (3.65 meters) wide, 2 front and 1 rear pilot car (escort vehicle) are required. Rear pilot cars (escort vehicles) can be replaced with two 5-inch (12.7 centimeters) flashing, strobing, or rotating amber lights for mobile home shipments. 
  • The shipment is over 85 feet (25.90 meters) in length,1 rear pilot car (escort) is required.
  • The shipment is over 105 feet (32.0 meters) in length,1 front and 1 rear pilot car (escort vehicle) is required. 
  • The load overhang exceeds 10 feet (3.04 meters) from the front of the trailer or 5 feet (1.52 meters) off of the rear of the trailer, 1 rear pilot car (escort) is required.

There are special escort requirements for bulldozers, scrapers, loaders, and other construction equipment being transported with a blade or bucket intact. However, on some routes that are 2 lane roads may require 1 front pilot car, and on some 4 lane roads 1 rear escort.

Pilot Cars/escort Vehicle Certifications and Requirements in Alabama

A pilot car vehicle must be classified as an actual passenger vehicle to qualify, i.e., car, truck, van, etc. A pilot car vehicle must be equipped with a strobing, flashing, or rotating amber light. The pilot car must be able to communicate with and be in constant contact with all parties working on the shipment by CB or 2-way radio. Also, see federal requirements for pilot cars and escort vehicles. Signs mounted on pilot car vehicles must moderately fit the vehicle and not be obtrusive.

Legal Travel Times for Oversize and Heavy Haul Loads in Alabama

One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Travel is allowed all day Saturday with NO SUNDAY TRAVEL PERMITTED. Shipments 120 feet (36.57 meters) to 150 feet (45.72 meters) in length are restricted from moving from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Mondays through Fridays. Travel is NOT permitted on the following holidays: 

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day, 
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day. 

The Alabama DOT state permit office is closed on these holidays.

  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Columbus Day
  • Confederate Memorial Day
  • Jefferson Davis’ Birthday
  • Veteran’s Day

More information on DOT permit office closure is available here. Travel is NOT restricted these days.

Heavy Haul and Oversize Trucking Permit Limitations in Alabama

Here’s the weight permit limit in Alabama
  • Single axle – 22,000 pounds
  • Tandem axles – 44,000 pounds
  • Tridem axles – 66,000 pounds
  • Quantum axles – 88,000 pounds
  • Five axles – 102,000 pounds
  • Six axles – 124,000 pounds
  • Seven axles – 146,000 pounds
  • Eight axles – 168,000 pounds
Below are the dimension permit limit in Alabama
  • Maximum length – 150 feet
  • Maximum overhang – 20 feet
  • Maximum width – 16 feet
  • Maximum height – 16 feet

If your heavy haul or oversize load exceeds any of these dimensions or 180,000 pounds, please refer to the super load section. Any permitted load with weight is subject to a detailed bridge analysis.

Super Load Shipping Permits in Alabama

Heavy haul loads greater than 150,000 pounds or 16 feet wide or 16 feet tall, or 150 feet long will require special approval. Drawings are required and should include axle weights and spacings. Heavy haul loads exceeding 150,000 pounds are subject to structural analysis. If any bridges are to be crossed moving a heavy haul shipment (with exceptions), you may be able to move at night with police escorts when hauling a super load.

When Is a Pilot/escort Car Required When Shipping a Load in Alabama?

Front pilot cars or escorts are required for loads that are over 15’6″ tall and must have a high pole. Two front escorts and one rear pilot car are required when loads are more than 12 feet wide. Escorts and or pilot cars may be required for lower heights depending upon routing. In some circumstances, a rear escort or pilot car is required on mobile homes and may be replaced with 25-inch flashing amber lights. One rear escort is required if over 85 feet in length. Front and rear pilot cars or escorts are required on all loads over 105 feet long. Rear escorts or pilot cars are required if the overhang is more than 5 feet from the rear or 10 feet to the front. There are some special escort or pilot car requirements for bulldozers that travel in two lanes. In that case, one front escort is required. While in four lanes, one rear escort or pilot car is required.

The information contained in these pages is research information primarily for use by oversize and overweight trucking company drivers, dispatchers, and pilot car companies. While every effort is put into maintaining the accuracy of this information you must absolutely verify this information with the Alabama State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.

Alabama DOT Contact Information and Notes

Alabama Department of Transportation – Oversize Permits
1409 Coliseum Boulevard Montgomery, Alabama 36110

Phone: 334-834-1092 or toll-free: 800-499-2782 – option 4.
FAX: 334-832-9084 – if this number has changed, please let us know below.
Alabama DOT: Main page of the Alabama state trucking permits website. Alabama laws direct.
E-mail trucking permits:  alabamapermits@dot.state.al.us
Current routing detours: Here is the current ALDOT Road Closures memo (if link is down visit main site).
Misc: Alabama DOT trucking Alabama permits manual – has a lot of good information. Escrow account customers may replenish escrow by credit card.  Contact: Mechelle @ 1-800-499-2782 and press option 4. Note: Alabama DOT requires you to sign their permit with red ink only.
DOT permit office Hours: 7:00 AM – 4:45 – PM (Central Time Zone)

MORE USEFUL RESOURCES 

Alabama Road Closures

9 Responses

  1. So you’re saying if I bought a center console boat that was over 8’6” but less then 12’ wide I wouldn’t be able to tow it to the beach on Friday and come home Sunday night? Most center console boats that are 23’ or over are already 9’ beam and to leave them at a wet slip dock is like over $500 a month. That’s crazy. Boats with a beam of no more than 12’ should get an exemption like RVs do.

    1. Anything over 8’6″ in width requires a permit. You are only permitted to move during the specified hours on this (Florida) page. Always refer to your permit before moving as travel times may be modified.

      1. Could you please further explain your question please? At the moment we have not heard about any laws that involve measuring “wind” speeds and have assumed this up to the discretion of the driver. We’ll be happy to further research it for you but want to make certain we clearly understand the question. Thank you for your time.

  2. What are the calculations for oversized loads on steep mountain grade roads for rate of speed and time to stop at a red light placed at bottom of steep grade? What should the length of a yellow light? What type of safety notifications for changing lights are required?

    1. Well, firstly pardon the delay as you got caught in a huge amount of posting spam. However once cleared out, there you were Dr. Richards. So, to be direct as possible this is a pretty isolated incident however does occur. So, “oversize” wouldn’t have a huge effect on the capabilities of the vehicle to stop. However, weight would. And this is yet another reason besides creating stress cracks in roads that extra axels are required in most of the world in order to be eligible to ship heavy haul items (in NA over 80,000 lbs GVW). With the extra axels you get that many more brake pads and shoes as well. Any experienced driver which is usually what it takes to set behind the wheel of something so drastically expensive (some over 1 mil overall) would know what speed to take the approach with which would probably be very slow. The brakes combined with the axles are designed to accommodate the maximum weight allowed on the trailer so failure would be an extreme. In certain circumstances either the state would require or the carrier may request a traffic control officer at the light. In the event one was not requested or required the driver would simply call a yellow (and probably even a green) light a red one and come to a complete stop before continuing. Yet another reason newbies drive $100,000 rigs and heavy haul drivers are well seasoned with most over 20-30 years in the industry. It’s a pecking order that is determined by either how much money you have saved (which takes a lot of years) or how much verifiable experience you have as word of mouth probably couldn’t get you in the passenger seat let alone behind the wheel. I hope this helps you.

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