What is a route survey?
In the trucking industry a route survey applies to transportation of specialized shipments. Route surveys are typically done before a shipment is permitted to travel. A vehicle must travel the exact route proposed by the specialized trucking company to ensure the safety of motorists and protection of public property. When a route survey is being performed the surveyor is looking for things like low bridges, tight turn radius’s or other signs the shipment may an alternate route. The route surveyor is also documenting things such as rail-road crossings and bridge heights (if applicable) as well as other potential dangers or obstructions. Specifically, these type of shipments can either be heavy, tall, long or wide. Each state and province in North America has rules and regulations that must be followed in order to ship specialized loads over their roads and highways. These laws were designed to protect motorists and well as public property such as roads and highways as well as bridges. When a oversize or over-weight (heavy-haul) item requires over the road transportation and is considered to large or heavy to ship under routinely issued oversize or heavy-haul trucking permits it is then classified as a superload. Most superloads require a route survey be done prior to authorizing them to ship it. Usually a pilot car (escort vehicle) will perform a survey of the intended route first in order to make certain the shipment is able to pass through certain areas or under bridges.
Why is a route survey required?
First and foremost to ensure the safety of motorists traveling over the roads and highways. In addition, to protect public assets and property from being damaged by a extra large or heavy shipment. Anytime a shipment is in excess of the legal limits there is an added level of danger associated with it. In the case of superloads there is even more. This is why the laws governing the shipment of extra large and heavy loads (superloads) are so strict. Try to picture a typical semi-truck with a 48 or 53 feet trailer. The entire combination is less than 65 feet in length. Now consider how relatively easy it is for the truck to make a right hand turn at a stop light. Now think how it would be if the combined length was 3 times that amount or 196 feet. Bridges are the same. The typical semi-truck is less than 11 feet and 6 inches to the top of the exhaust pipes. The legal maximum height in most states/provinces is 13 feet and 6 inches. Now think about what if the item being transported was 32 feet in height. Route surveys for extreme oversize and heavy-haul shipments are very important.
What certifications do you need to do route survey work?
The majority of the time a route survey is performed by a pilot car (escort) company. Most states/provinces require pilot car drivers to be certified before operating in them so in order to perform route survey work you will want to get certified as a pilot car driver first. However, in many cases recently route survey work for superloads has been assigned to government employees such as engineers and law enforcement. So if you do plan on doing route survey work you may want to consider operating in the capacity of a pilot car company first and be certain you install a height pole on your pilot car or escort vehicle.
If you are looking for a pilot car company to do a route survey for your company we have many available. If you are in need of a specialized carrier to ship your extremely heavy or oversize shipment we would be more than happy to have them quote you.
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