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Alaska Shipping Regulations | Heavy-haul and Oversize Trucking

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2022 Alaska DOT Shipping Laws, Rules, Regulations for Oversize and Heavy-haul Trucking

Alaska shipping regulations for oversize and overweight trucking and DOT permit information.
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Heavy Haul Trucking Permits in Alaska

Alaska oversize trucking permits.

Legal Load Limits in Alaska

Here are the legal load limits in Alaska
  • Length:  53’ Trailer Length
  • Width:  8’6”
  • Height: 14’
  • Weight: Depending on route 80,000 lbs GVW.
  • Overhang: 3’ in the front, 4’ in the rear.
Kenworth double trailers in compliance with 80,000 pounds GVW laws.
Alaska requires any shipment over the weight of 80,000 pounds to have a special trip permit.

Routine Trucking Permits in Alaska

Trucking oversize and overweight permit limits in Alaska:
  • Length: Shipping varies due to routing and season.
  • Width: Shipping rules vary depending on route and season.
  • Height: Over 14′ and once again everything varies depending on routing and season.
  • Weight: Single; 30,000 lbs, tandem; 56,000 lbs, tridem; 70,000 lbs, quadem 80,000 lbs, gross weight; 150,000 lbs. Depends on the route you wish to travel, the distance, and the bridges you intend on crossing.
  • Overhang:  20′ is a safe number but once again everything up here is seasonal as roads are closed or combined with weight frost laws may be in effect and limit you.  For the most part, there is no such thing as a “routing” shipment in Alaska.

NOTES: When between the months of October 1 and March 31 for 1, 2 & 3 drive axle groups on truck tractors intending to travel the Dalton, Elliott, or Steese highways between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay you can shift your legal axle weights to make them legal. The following weights on these routes apply:

  • single; 22,000 lbs with 8′ 1″ minimum spacing between axles
  • tandem; 42,000 lbs
  • tridem; 48,000 lbs maximum

When a Pilot Car Is Required in Alaska

Pilot car (escort vehicle) requirements in Alaska
  • Length: if the overall length exceeds 85′ you are required to have 1 pilot car (escort). If the overall length exceeds 100′ you are required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car (escort).
  • Width: If 10′ to 12′ wide you will be required to have 1 pilot car (escort vehicle). If width exceeds 12′ and up to 14′ you are required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car (escort vehicle). From 14′ to 18′ in the width you will be required to have 3 pilot cars. 2 front on 4 lanes and 2 rear on 2 lane roads with the additional at either end. 18′ up to 22′ in width will require 4 pilot cars (escorts); 2 in front and 2 in the rear. If over 22′ in width you will be required to “close and roll” (closing the road as you move) requiring you to have 5 pilot cars as well as a minimum of 1 police escort.
  • Weight: You may be required to have a pilot car/cars if you are not able to maintain the minimum speed limit and on some designated bridge crossings depending on your weight class.
  • Overhang: If the overhang is greater than 20′ you will be required to have 1 pilot car vehicle. If over 35′ you will be required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car.

Required Shipment Markings and Flags in Alaska

Truck, trailer, and shipment required signs, banners & flags in Alaska:

For loads that are over 8′ 6″ in the width you will be required to have an “OVERSIZE LOAD” banner on the front of your truck and on the rear of your truck or load, whichever is most practical. Flags must be a minimum length of 16″ and be safety orange or red in color.

Pilot Car Certifications & Requirements in Alaska

Pilot car (escort vehicle) certifications & requirements in Alaska:

A pilot car must be manufactured as a passenger vehicle (car, truck, van, etc.) with a manufacturer’s weight of fewer than 10,000 lbs. All pilot car drivers must be wearing a safety-colored vest, jacket, or shirt. All pilot cars must be equipped with a rotating, strobe, or flashing amber light visible from 360 degrees to no less than 500′. In addition, the vehicle must have:

  • a regulation-sized hand help SLOW – STOP sign
  • safety colored flags of no less than 18″ in either direction
  • 8 road safety flares
  • 3 reflective road triangles
  • a 2-way communication device capable of transmitting at least 10 miles
  • a type A, B, and C fire extinguisher.

Travel Times and Restrictions in Alaska

Travel times and restrictions in Alaska:

Approved permits are valid for 3-5 days unless otherwise stated. Travel times are from Monday through Saturday at noon during daylight hours – the one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset rule applies. However, vehicles not exceeding 85′ in length, 16’in width, or 16′ in height can only travel Monday through Sunday during daylight hours. Travel is NOT permitted on the following holiday weekends: 

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day.

Areas of high traffic densities are restricted from 7:00 – 8 AM and 4:30 – 6:00 PM in certain areas (refer to your permit for documentation). Movement is NOT permitted on Kalifornsky Beach Rd, Kenai Spur highway, or the Sterling highway from 6:45-9:00 AM and 2:15-4:30 PM during the school months for shipments over 14′ in width. In addition, Ketchikan has restricted movement from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM and from noon – to 1 PM, and from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.  Glenn and Parks Highways to Palmer and Wasilla between 6:00 – 8:00 AM and from 11:30-1:00 PM and from 4:30 until 6:00 PM if over 14′ in width.

Frost and Thaw Laws in Alaska

Frost and thaw laws in Alaska

Frost and thaw laws are in effect from March 1 until mid-June on significant routes, southern central, and the interior. That’s because there are so many roads with different regulations on thaw laws and frost laws. You will want to call the Alaska State DOT office at the number below for more information. Example: A particular highway may have a set of regulations until you reach a certain milepost, then after that has a whole different set of regulations. There are hundreds of them similar.

Additional Information

Heavy Haul and Oversize Trucking Permit Limitations in Alaska

Maximum weights; on a single axle with dual tires, 30,000 pounds. With tandem axles 56,000 pounds, with tridem axles 70,000 pounds, with quadem axles 80,000 pounds. The gross maximum is 150,000 pounds. All of this depends entirely on the route you choose to travel, the distance, and any bridges you intend to cross. It also depends upon the shipment’s length, height, and width. Between October 1st and March 31st one, two and three drive axle groupings on trucks and truck tractors traveling the Elliott, Steese, and Dalton highways between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. If applicable, you can shift legal axle weights in the following weights on these routes if applicable: single axles 22,000 pounds (with 8’1″ minimum axle spacing). Tandem axles 42,000 pounds, tridem axles 48,000 pounds. The maximum height allowed is 15’3″. Shipments over 14 feet wide or 150 feet long or 16’6″ in height must supply the permitting department with the exact route they wish to travel.

Heavy Haul and Oversize Truck Signs and Flags

A standard oversize load sign is required on the front of the tractor and the rear of the shipment if it exceeds 8’6″ and width. The sign must be yellow and have a minimum of 48 inches in width with black letters that are 10 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Acceptable signs, when specified, shall read “OVERSIZE,” “OVERSIZE LOAD,” or “WIDE LOAD” for over width vehicles and/or shipments; “OVERSIZE,” “OVERSIZE LOAD,” or “LONG LOAD” for over length vehicles must be affixed to the rear of shipment when the overall load exceeds 60 feet in length. Vehicles and loads with rear overhang exceeding 10 feet are subject to the following: they must have “oversize” or “oversize load” signs and an amber high-intensity rotating, flashing, oscillating, or strobe type beacon, which must be visible for a minimum of 500 feet from the end of the shipment. In addition, you must have either an extended light bar or a rear pilot car or escort vehicle. All flags must be a minimum of 16” square and red. Flags must be on vehicles with loads wider than 10 feet and if overhang exceeds the legal limits in any direction.

Pilot Car and Escort Vehicle Requirements in Alaska

If the width of the shipment is over 10’6″ and up to 12 feet, one pilot car or escort vehicle is required. One pilot car is required for lengths over 85 feet and up to 100 feet. If the overhang is greater than 10 feet but less than 20 feet, one pilot car or escort vehicle may be used. It is possible to use an extended lightbar and place a rear pilot car. Heavy haul or overweight shipments with special bridge conditions must have two pilot cars if the width is 12 feet up to 14 feet, or escort vehicles are required if the length is more significant than 100 feet to escort vehicles or pilot cars. If the overhang exceeds 20 feet unless the rear is greater than 35 feet or the front greater than 60 feet, one pilot car is required. For widths over 14 feet, three pilot car vehicles or escorts are required: two in the front and one in the rear. If you have an overhang from the rear greater than 35 feet, pilot cars are required, and for widths, up to 18 feet but not more than 22 feet 4 pilot cars or escort vehicles are required. If road closures exist and you are an excess of 22 feet wide, you will be required to have 5 escorts or pilot cars. You may be permitted to use an extended light bar when up to 20 feet of rear overhang and lieu of a rear pilot car.

Pilot Car and Escort Vehicle Expectations in Alaska

Pilot cars and escort vehicles may be passenger trucks and cars as long as they are under 10,000 pounds in total weight. Pilot cars and escort vehicles must carry commercial vehicle insurance. Pilot cars and escort vehicles will not carry any passengers. Pilot cars and escort vehicles will not act as steer men or tiller men for any load. Oversize load signs and beacons: all escort vehicles and pilot cars must be equipped with the appropriate signage. Depending upon the shipment you are working with, this might be oversize, wide load, or long load. The sign must be roof mounted with a high-intensity rotating flashing oscillating or strobe amber beacon light which must be visible from a minimum of 500 feet in any direction. When a pilot car or escort vehicle is required to lead any oversize load, the appropriate sign must be faced towards the front of the pilot car or escort vehicle. When the pilot car or escort is chasing a load, the appropriate sign must be faced towards the vehicle’s rear. Pilot car companies and escort vehicle drivers shall carry the following items and equipment at all times when escorting heavy haul and oversize loads: a 24 inch stop slow paddle sign, three bidirectional emergency reflective triangles, 15 pounds rated B and C fire extinguisher, a reflector rise orange vest shirt or jacket, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, a red cone and be equipped with a red hand flag.

Flag Men or Flag Persons in Alaska

Alaska does not require a pilot car or escort vehicle operator to have certification to perform flagging functions. However, flaggers and pilot car or escort vehicle operators shall complete the state-approved flagging test and any necessary training before working in the capacity of a flagger. There is a fee for the online class. Flag persons shall not be less than 18 years of age and must be capable of carrying out flagging responsibilities per the Alaska state traffic manual regulations. Flaggers must be wearing high visibility or florescent orange jackets and vest and equipped with a slow stop paddle and a red hand flag. These items must be utilized by the pilot car company or escort vehicle operator if necessary. If the required pilot car and escort vehicle operators will need to pull over and Park to stop or control Highway traffic. At no time shall the slow-stop paddle or red flags be displayed out of the window of a moving vehicle.

Travel Time for Heavy Haul and Oversize Loads in Alaska

Heavy haul permits and oversize trucking permits are valid for 3 to 5 days unless otherwise specified. Travel is permitted from Monday through Saturday at noon during daylight hours. One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. However, vehicles that are not exceeding 10’6″ wide or 16 feet tall or 85 feet and linked total may travel Monday through Saturday during daylight hours. Oversize vehicles can operate during hours of darkness under special lighting and taping requirements. Travel is permitted on the following holiday weekends memorial day for, July, and Labor Day. Urban areas do restrict travel during peak hours. Be sure to refer to your permit for specific travel times, especially in urban areas.

Spring Weight and Frost Laws in Alaska

Weight restrictions and frost laws usually occur on all major routes in South, Central, and interior Alaska. Typical months are from March 1st until the 1st of July.

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 verify this information with the Alaska State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.

Alaska DOT & Information

Alaska State DOT trucking permit contact information:

Division of Measurement Standards Phones:  907-365-1200 or below within Alaska.
Commercial Vehicle Customer Service Center: 800-478-7636
Huffman Business Park
11900 Industrial Way
Anchorage, AK  99515

Phone helpline: 907-365-1200
Toll-free within Alaska: 800-478-7636
Fax: 907-365-1204
Permit office hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
PACIFIC STANDARD TIME

Alaska state DOT website with all kinds of permit info, forms, manuals, etc here. Alaska heavy-haul and oversize trucking laws.
Road closures and highway conditions are here.
Alaska road closure information.

Alaska DOT
Alaska DOT
Alaska state rules and regulations.
2019 Alaska state shipping regulations.

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