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2024 British Columbia Oversize Load Shipping Regulations

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2024 British Columbia Oversize and Overweight Load Trucking Regulations, Permits, Laws, Rules, and Limitations

British Columbia DOT regulations for oversize shipping.
British Columbia. The official Coat of Arms.

Oversize Legal Load Limits in British Colombia

British Columbia legal load limits:

  • Length: 14.65 meters (48.06′) from the kingpin to the rearmost portion of the trailer. No combinations in length over 23 meters (75.45′) overall without a permit. A 53-foot semi-trailer is allowed provided the lift axle is raised.
  • Width: No shipment may travel if in excess of 2.6 meters in width (without a permit) unless it is a shipment of hay which is limited to 3.1 meters (122″) or rearview mirrors which are limited to 30 cm (11.81 inches)on each side, additional auxiliary devices are allowed 30 cm (11.81 inches) and tires are allowed an additional 10 cm.
  • Height: No shipment may travel if larger than 4.15 meters (163″) in height without a permit.
  • Weight: Single axle: 9,100 kg (20,062 lbs) and the same for tandem and tridem axles. A tridem pole trailer: gross weight on any two adjacent axles in a tridem axle group must not exceed 17,000 kg (37,478 lbs). The maximum licensed gross vehicle weight of a vehicle or combination of vehicles must not exceed 63,500 kg* (139,994 lbs) without a permit (see; en B.C Regulation 95/2006, s. 3.)* THIS AMOUNT SEEMS EXCESSIVE. THIS IS THE NUMBER OUR RESEARCH PRODUCED. See; the reference link below in “notes” under “maximum gross weight”. See also “comments” at the bottom.
  • Overhang: 1m in front and .061 – which seems a little odd to us as the rear maximum seems short. Please contact the BC DOT to verify.
    NOTES: No matter what a permit states, if a sign posted on a highway or road that contradicts your permit, the sign will take precedence over the permit, so you must immediately stop traveling and get clarification. Section reference: Copyright Queens Printer Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Routine Trucking Permits in British Columbia

Oversize and overweight trucking permits that are routinely issued by the British Columbia DOT :

  • Length: 27.5 meters (90 feet, 2, and 43/64 fourths on an inch) is the maximum length for a routine permit in British Columbia.
  • Width: 4.4 meters (14 feet, 5, and 15/64 fourths of an inch) is the maximum you will get from British Columbia DOT on a routine permit.
  • Height: There is no number provided. The British Columbia DOT permit office wants to assess every load that is over-height based on intended routing.
  • Weight: This is the same as the height. They will not give you a solid number for routine. We are going to suggest 63,500 kg (134,994 lbs) since we had trouble locating what we feel was a reasonable maximum limit above for “legal loads limits”. we sure welcome your comments below.
  • Overhang: 6.5 meters (21 feet, 3, and 29/32 seconds of an inch) for routine permits for overhang.

NOTES: If your shipment is oversize and overweight you will be required to have two separate permits. Oversize loads are required to have safety flags no less than 16″ x 16″ (46.64 cm) square and be red in color.

Superload Transport in British Columbia – Extraordinary Loads

British Columbia superload information:

Superloads in British Columbia or “extraordinary loads” are defined by the DOT as any shipment that is over 85,000 kilograms GVW in weight, 4.4 meters (14 feet, 5 and 15/64ths of an inch) in width, 4.88 meters (16 feet and 1/8th inches) in overall height. Depending on your route, you may not be classified as a “Superload” as the British Columbia DOT has pre-approved designated routes. You can find more (limited) information on super or extraordinary loads here.

Permitted Oversize and Overweight Load  Travel Times and Restrictions in British Columbia

British Columbia DOT travel times and restrictions for oversize and overweight trucking:

The rule of daylight is defined as 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset in B. C. No travel is allowed after 2 PM on Friday until 12:01 AM on Monday for any load over 3.8 meters (12′ 6″) in width. If your shipment is over 3.5 meters (11′ 6″) in width, you can only travel during daylight hours except for the Peace River region. For holiday travel restrictions, you may not travel after 2 PM on the day before and after 12:01 on the day after the holiday. These holidays are:

  • New Years Day
  • Provincial Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Family Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

When Are Pilot Cars Required in British Columbia?

British Columbia DOT requires a pilot car (escort vehicle) to accompany your shipment if you are in excess of any of the following dimensions or weights:
  • Length: For shipments in excess of 27.5 meters (90′) in length you will be required to have 1 rear pilot car (escort vehicle) on all roads. For shipments over 27.5 meters (90′) in length, 1 front pilot car/escort and 1 rear pilot car/escort are required.
  • Width: For shipments in excess of 3.5 meters (11′ 6″) wide you will be required to have 1 front pilot car on two-lane roads or 1 rear pilot car/escort on multiple lane roads. In some cases, a beacon light may be substituted. In many cases, night travel is granted at 304.8 cm (10′ wide). If granted night travel you may be required to have 1 pilot car/escort in the front of your shipment is over 3.2 meters (10′ 5 and 63/64 fourths of an inch”) in width. Shipments that are over 3.5 meters (11′ 5 and 51/64 fourths of an inch”) wide up to 4.4 meters (14′ 5 and 15/64 fourths of an inch) require 1 front pilot car/escort vehicle. Shipments that are over 3.5 meters (11′ 5 and 51/64 fourths of an inch”) wide are permitted to travel at night only.
  • Height: Depending on your route the BC DOT permit office will determine if you are required to have a pilot car/escort vehicle.
  • Weight: Weight is on a case-by-case basis. As long as your shipment can maintain the minimum required speed limit you will probably not be required to have a pilot car/escort by the British Columbia DOT permits office.
  • Overhang: If you have more than 6.5 meters (21′ 3 and 29/32 seconds of an inch) of overhang you will be required to have 1 rear pilot car/escort.

Pilot Car Certifications in British Columbia

Pilot car (escort vehicle) certifications and requirements for operating in British Columbia:

Pilot car/escort vehicle operators at this time are only required to:

  • have a valid driver’s license
  • be over 18 years of age.  

We are getting reports that a certification program is in the works but at the time of this update (March 2, 2014) these above 3 requirements are all that are needed to operate a “pilot car” or “escort vehicle” within the Province of British Columbia (see comments below for more information). Also, see; British Columbia Pilot Cars laws.

Your vehicle is required to have a lighted sign box that is a minimum of 180 cm x 35 cm x 10 cm (72″ x 14″ x 4″),  have 2 – flashing lights mounted on the top of the sign box on each side with 2 amber strobe or rotating lights a minimum of 203 mm (8″) mounted between the flashing lights on top of the box as well.

The minimum acceptable size for a rotating amber light is 15 cm in diameter, and for strobe lights, 11 cm in diameter. Either type of lamp must emit light flashes at 360 degrees.

The sign box must light up and be visible from a minimum distance of 200 meters. The sign box must have either a red and white D sign or a yellow with black lettering stating “OVERSIZE LOAD,”  “WIDE LOAD,”  or “LONG LOAD”. If you have the “D” sign your letter must be no less than 20 cm (8″) in height with a 4 cm (1 5/8″) line thickness. If you have the yellow sign your lettering must be no less than 20 cm (8″) with a 4 cm (1 5/8″) line thickness. The sign box must be mounted on the vehicle’s top and covered when not in operation. You’re also expected to have the following items inside of the vehicle: CB radio or high powered 2-way radio, first aid kit, fire extinguisher type A, B & C of at least a 2 liters, 3 reflective road triangles, 3 traffic cones, reflective vest (worn while working), slow/stop sign, 3 red or orange safety colored flags no less than 40 x 40 cm (16″ x 16″), nose cone flashlight and a hard hat.

Shipment, Truck, and Trailer Markings in British Columbia

Truck, trailer, and shipment required signs, banners, and flags:

All trucks hauling oversize or overweight loads must have a strobe, flashing, or rotating amber light mounted to the roof visible from 360 degrees at a minimum distance of 200 meters (656′). All 4 outermost corners of the overall shipment and any obtrusive points must have flags mounted to them that are safety red or orange no less than 40 cm x 40 cm (16″ x 16″) and have the flags exchanged for lighting if moving during the night. A sign stating the nature of the load, “OVERSIZE LOAD,” “WIDE LOAD,” or “LONG LOAD,” must be mounted to the front and rear of the overall shipment. Signs must be a minimum of 12″ in height and 6″ in width with a yellow background and black letting with lettering thickness no less than 4 cm (1 5/8″) thick.

British Columbia DOT & Other Information

British Columbia DOT contact and other useful information:

British Columbia DOT – Central Permit Office
Telephone helpline: 800-559-9688 or they have districts so click on the area for phone and info.
Hours: 6 AM until 10 PM including (MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE). These offices are closed on Christmas, News Year’s Day, and Boxing Day.

British Columbia DOT oversize and overweight permit applications online.
British Columbia DOT oversize and overweight permits manuals.
British Columbia Province road conditions and closures.
British Columbia HOS or hours of service rules and regulations
 -.pdf document.
British Columbia DOT spring thaw and frost laws.

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 British Columbia Province DOT Permits office before commencing movement.

See also:

Frost and thaw law introduction.
British Columbia frost laws.
How to start a pilot car company.
Pilot car company certification.
British Columbia road closures – traffic reports.

32 Responses

  1. I’m wondering what program or tools others are using to build their tractor trailer schematics/drawings to when submitting for extraordinary permits? The schematic/drawing would include all axle spacings, axle weights, tire sizes, truck/tractor width, trailer width, and wheelbases for each vehicle in metric measurements only.

    1. Great question. I am not aware of anything like this but that’s not to say someone isn’t offering it. Good luck and be sure share with us any good tools you may find.

  2. It’s good to know that oversize loads are often 27.5 meters long. My boss wants to get some things shipped, and he thinks it could require an oversize load. I’ll share this information with him so that he knows more about the topic.

    1. Hello Ken. This depends on which state/province you are traveling in. For British Columbia the minimum distance is 20 feet and 6 inches (6.2484 meters)and maximum distance is 41 feet (12.4968 meters). This is from the center of the kingpin to the center of the rear axle. For other state/province regulations.

  3. OVERSIZE LOAD”, “WIDE LOAD” or “LONG LOAD” must be mounted to the front and rear of the overall shipment. Signs must be a minimum of 12′ in height and 6′ in width ???

    What, the sign must be 12 feet high? WOW
    Can someone clarify this please?

  4. Looking at pulling my 10’8″ wide boat home from BC to Nova Scotia…. is this going to be a big deal?

  5. your topic om pilot car required on length one says in excess of 90ft and the the other says over 90ft,,you have two different answers for the same topic,,one says one pilot,,the other says two pilots.

  6. 63500kg is correct licensed legal weight for 8 axle super bee train configuration. 17000kg per tandem group and 24000kg per tridem group.
    Five axle or 18 wheeler would be 5500kg on the steers 17000kg in the drives and 17000kg on the trailer. If a tridem trailer then the same weights on the tractor and 24000kg on the tridem group on the trailer. A super bee train is 5500 stee, 17000 drives, 24000 the bridge or the middle of the two trailers coupled by a fifth wheel ( no converter dolly ), 17000 on the back trailer tandem group.

  7. Hopefully that changes that were made now reflect the correct information. Please let us know if anything else is not correct. Ed we appreciate you so very much!

  8. Please inform us of any errors that are posted on the site. We strive to keep our information current. Canada is difficult as the information is not easy to locate and most provinces will not send out notifications of changes that are made. We appreciate your feedback.

    1. You can be piloted at night in BC. You can run at night up to 10′ wide at night without a pilot. Most lowbed trailers up here are 10′ wide standard

      1. Dear Scott,

        Great news! We’ll get right on this with our verification team and get it reflected om the main portion of the site ASAP! For those of you who have never commented this is exactly how to absolutely make certain we are up to the minute. All of the States/Provinces sat they will notify us immediately but after almost 15 years online we’ve learned that the process unfortunately moves slow

        From all of our viewers and us, thank you Scott!!!

  9. Your statement re; Shipments that are over 3.5 meters (11′ 5 and 51/64ths of an inch”) wide are permitted to travel at night only. This is incorrect and makes no sense.

    1. For those reading this post thread – hats off for Ed from ASAP pilot cars as he has worked with us very hard to ensure our Canadian regulations pages are accurate. Thanks again Ed!

  10. Your information for BC is incorrect. There are currently no training requirements for Pilot Car operators. Regs are coming, but could still be several years away as the 4 western provinces are trying to sync regs.

    Also the regs for oversize transport are incorrect. Up to date regs can be found on the CVSE website, as confusing as they are.

  11. Training course required by pilot operators at the current time is a Traffic Control Person Certificate. Mandatory training will be coming – government is looking at legislative changes at the present time.

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