Maximum legal load sizes.

What are the maximum legal load sizes of a shipment before it’s classified as oversize or over weight?

Maximum legal dimensions/weights.

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Maximum dimensions and weights for transport.

  • Length: Combined overall is 65 feet or 19.812 meters.
  • Trailer length: 48 feet or 14.6304 meters. Some 53 feet or 16.1544 meters.
  • Width: 8 feet and 6 inches or 2.5908 meters.
  • Height: 13 feet and 6 inches or 4.1148 meters*.
  • Weight: Combined overall is 80,000 pounds or 36287.39 kilograms.
  • Shipment weight: 47,000 pounds or 21318.841 kilograms at most.

*Note: For US states maximum height varies. East of Missouri river is 13 feet and 6 inches or 4.1148 meters and west of the Missouri river is 14 feet or 4.2672 meters. Alaska maximum height is 15 feet or 4.572 meters. This is only a rule of thumb and not exact. For example Oklahoma is 13′ 6″ or Colorado and Nebraska are 14′ 6″. Also some designated routes are approved for additional heights. Be sure to research any/all laws before attempting to ship oversize or heavy items. Shipping it legally can be tricky.

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Maximum weight restrictions for trucking.

Learn more about oversize trucking and transport.

Each state or province has different regulations. The above is a North American average. Regulations for heavy haul and oversize trucking can be very complex once a shipment has been determined “heavy” or “oversize” and there is a classification system within each state that can even qualify a shipment as a “super load”. Once dimensions or weights exceed the legal maximums transport permits are required. Some shipments may require pilot cars or even pilot cars equipped with height poles or the trucking company may be required to have a route survey performed. It’s important to consult a professional before attempting to transport any objects, machinery or equipment that is oversize or over weight.


Know the legal limits anytime you transport a load.

Whether you are a professional truck driver or a novice with a pick up truck it’s always smart to know the laws. Public safety a big factor to consider when transporting large or heavy items. Public property should also be factored in as damages could crush you financially. Fines and possibly getting your vehicle towed and impounded are other factors to consider. Always consult a professional as well as local laws when considering transporting over dimensional or over weight shipments.



Washington D.C. Shipping Regulations

2018 Washington D.C. Shipping Regulations.
Washington D.C. district seal


Trucking weight limitations.

Single axle: 31,000 lbs. per axle.
Tandem axles: 31,000 lbs. per axle.
Triple axles: 31,000 lbs. per axle.
Quad axles: 313,000 lbs. per axle.
Maximum weights are considered on a case by case basis. They will determine if you are eligible (considering proposed routing) at the time you apply for your permit. No single axle will be permitted to exceed 31,000 lbs.

Truck length limitations:

If you propose to move any shipment with a length that is in excess of 56 feet, you may be required to travel during night time hours only. Again, this is considered on a case by case basis. Any load that exceeds 80′ (feet) will be required to have a front (lead) pilot car (escort vehicle).

Truck width limitations:

Maximum width for legal travel is 8′ 6″. Anything in excess of 8’6″ (inches) in width will be decided on a case by case basis (considering proposed routing). Shipments that are in excess of 12′ (feet) in width will be required to have a lead pilot car vehicle.

Truck height limitations:

Truck height limitations are determined by the overhead clearance of any obstructions that may exists (or are proposed; temp, construction, etc) in the routing proposition you propose. Planning a route that gives you a minimum of a 6″ (inch) clearance is suggested. Any shipment that is in excess of 13′ 6″ (feet/inches) will be required to have a pilot car (escort vehicle) equipped with a height pole

Truck overhang limitations:

If overhang is in excess of 10′ (feet) from the rear of the trailer you will be required to have a lead vehicle as well as a chase.

Truck signs and flag requirements:

Shipments that are in excess of 8′ 6″ (feet/inches) are required to have “wideload” signs affixed to the front and rear of the truck and trailer. No flags are “required”. There are no sign size/letter specifications in the Washington D.C. laws but note they should be professionally printed signs.


If you are in a situation where you have excess (extreme) widths and/or heights you will more than likely be required to travel during night time hours.

Pilot car (escort) vehicle requirements (PiloTrac):

No particular type of vehicle is specified in Washington D.C. laws. However, we do suggest a minimum wheel base of 72 inches. Pilot cars (escort vehicles) will be required to have a amber flashing (rotating) light mounted on the very top of the vehicle. We would suggest pilot cars have the minimum requirements by other states such as: slow/stop paddle, professional wide, oversize, long load signs, company name, address and phone on the side of vehicle, flares, safety vest, CB radio and a height pole if the shipment you intend on escorting is in excess of 13′ 11″.

Travel times and restrictions:

Travel is permitted 24 hours a day unless you are in the extreme excess as noted above in height, width and length. Shipments that are wideloads or overheight or over length may be restricted to travel between 10 pm and 5 am. If so you will not be permitted to travel from 7am til 9:30 am and 4 pm til 6:30 pm. During extreme weather conditions travel may be restricted. Weekend travel is allowed as well as weekends. The Washington D.C. permitting office will be closed on the following holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Goof Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.


Washington District of Columbia Department of Traffic
2nd floor, Potomac Bldg.
614 H Street, NW
Washington, DC  20001

Office hours: 9 am to 3 pm EDT
Phone: 202-442-4670


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