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Most operators who routinely transport oversize (OS) or overweight (OW) loads are familiar with the requirements for OS/OW permits. Typically, an operator hauling an OS/OW load through several states must first obtain permits for each state along the route.
Obtaining OS/OW permits may be a matter of hours or take up to 10 days, depending on the state, the load, and the route. Coordinating a trip through several states requires planning and understanding the applications processes and schedules for each state. For operators who haul OS/OW loads infrequently, obtaining individual trip permits—although time consuming—is the logical process.
Operators who, however, transport OS/OW loads on a regular and routine basis through one or more states may find it advantageous to obtain annual permits. The advantages of an annual permit are that, based on the number of trips, the OS/OW fee per trip may be less, and more importantly, operators can have more flexibility in scheduling trips rather than when waiting for individual approvals and a permits.
Typically, permits are required for loads that have an
These are typical values. Each state may set different or additional values and conditions for OS/OW loads. Rates for OS/OW loads will also vary, sometimes significantly, from one state to the next, and there may be sliding scales for different size or weight loads. Each state’s load limits and associated fees are usually established by state legislatures, and, therefore may change at any time.
Cost: Each state sets the fees for OS/OW loads. Not all OS/OW loads are the same; that is, there may be what are referred to as super loads, that incur special—higher—rates. Typically, a permit for a single haul will be significantly more than the fee-per-load under an annual permit. Annual permits are issued for a specific over-dimension or weight (or range of weights) and therefore may not include the occasional “super load” that would have to be permitted separately at the single-trip rate. Most OS/OW loads do not reach the weights and/or dimensions of “super loads.”
If you are routinely hauling along the same route—for example, hauling oversized pre-stressed concrete beams for a major constructions site—either within a state to through several states, the annual permit will save both time and money. Some states have very straight-forward pricing for these loads, while others have more complex pricing schedules.
Individual trip permits can take several days, or longer if a route survey is required. If, however, you routinely haul similar size and weight loads along the same routes, the cost-per-trip for permits can be significantly less with an annual permit. Note, annual permits can begin during any month and are valid for the 12-month period beginning with the month the permit was issued.
Below are several examples of state annual fees.
Single Trip or Annual Permits must be obtained when traveling with oversize and overweight loads on Tennessee roadways before entering the state. All permit types may be obtained through the TNTRIPS website.
Tennessee annual fees:
Height or Length - $ 15.00
Weight - $ 15.00 + $ 0.05 per ton/mile
Annual - $ 500.00 for vehicle up to 120,000 lbs. GVW; $ 1,000.00 for vehicle over 120,000 lbs. and up to 150,000 lbs. GVW
Evaluation of Bridges and Similar Structures – Fees range from $ 100.00 – actual costs depend on actual weight.
California OS/OW fees are deceptively simple. A single trip fee for routine OS/OW loads is $16.00, while an annual permit for multiple trips is $90.00. If you haul more than five OS/OW loads per year, the annual permit not only saves money on permits but eliminates the waiting period of a half day to three days for each permit to be issued. These fees apply to all OS/OW loads except super-loads. Other exceptions may apply which may not be apparent until the time of application.
California Annual OS/OW fees:
Single Trip - $ 16.00
Annual - $ 90.00
Colorado has a bit more complex formula: A single OS trip requires a fee of $15. If it is overweight, the fee is $15 plus $5.00 for each axle. The fee for an OS/OW five-axle rig would be $15+$25, or $40. The Annual permit for OS loads is $250. To save money on the OS fee would require more than 15 such loads per year. However, there would be reduced administrative costs involved for the annual fee and allow for more direct management of the travel schedule. The annual fee for OS and OW loads is $400, meaning the break-even point in fee dollars is ten OW or OW/OS trips. Colorado also has fleet permits and special annual super-load permits.
Colorado Annual OS/OW fees:
*Effective July 1, 2009 - Single Trip and Special Transport Permits issued will be assessed a surcharge equal to the amount of the permit fee pursuant to the passage of Senate Bill 09-108. A single trip permit costs $15.00*. If the vehicle or load is overweight add $5.00* per axle. For example, a six-axle semi-truck/trailer with a load exceeding 80,000 pounds would cost $45.00. Annual fees are;
Annual Oversize Permit $250.00
Annual Oversize/Overweight $400.00
Annual Overweight only $400.00
Company Fleet Permit (CFP) $3000.00 base fee for first 10 vehicles
Note: Colorado has a very detailed rate structure for a wide variety of load sizes and vehicle types.
Alabama has sliding scales for various oversize loads, and various overweight categories that can add up to more than $100 per trip in fees. However, an annual permit for hauling multiple similar loads is also $100. In this case, based on available data, an annual permit would be a good investment.
Alabama Permit Costs
Over height only - $10.00
Houses any Size - $20.00
Boats, M/H, Portable Buildings, Modular House 12’ (3.66) x 75’ (22.8) - $ 10.00
Over above dimensions - $20.00
Annual Permit $ 100.00
Other states, such as Florida, may have detailed sliding scales for various dimensions for OS loads and various OW values for both single trip and annual fees. Some states offer annual fees only for oversize loads but not for overweight loads. A few states to not offer annual permits.
The fact is, that when hauling OS and/or OW loads through several states, operators will have to deal with differing fee scales for each state, calculated differently as either a flat fee for OS/OW or sliding scales for various over-dimensions and/or weights. There are agencies that will handle the permitting processes for a fee. There are times when this may be a good investment.
While there is no interstate agreement comparable to the IFTA for fuel taxes or IRP for registration fees, there is a group of states that belong to the “Western Regional Agreement for the Issuance of Permits for Oversize and Overweight Vehicles Involved in Interstate Travel.”
If you are operating through several states within the WRA area, you may request your OS/OW permit from any one of the jurisdictions (states) through which you plan to travel. That state will determine the total fee for the trip, based on the distances traveled in each state and each state’s fees for the size and/or weight of the load. The jurisdiction of application will also provide the necessary permits for all jurisdictions. This simplifies the application process somewhat. If the load is traveling through WRA states and then into other states, the operator will be responsible for obtaining permits in those non-WRA states. When traveling only within the boundaries of one jurisdiction, application for OS/OW permits must follow that state’s procedures.
Note WRA applications are to be made within 5 days of the planned trip. If the WRA processes is successful, expect other states to join and participate.
Note, such guides are useful for determining the fee structure for each state, however, contact each state directly for the latest trip and annual fees. As mentioned before, these fees are typically set by state legislatures and can change at any time during the year.
There are several agencies that will collect your load dimensions and weights and intended route of travel and will prepare the OS/OW application(s) for you or your company. There is, of course, a fee for this service, but it may be worth extra cost.
To obtain State permits, you will need to contact the State(s) in which you plan to travel. Be prepared with the dimensions/weights of the load, the route of travel, and the desired date(s) of travel. For more on Oversize/Overweight Load see: Hauling Oversize/Overweight Loads
There are two different types of permits available to individuals or companies to transport OS/OW loads: Single Trip Permits and/or Extended or Annual Permits.
Single trip permits may be issued for a five day period if so requested. A single trip permit is valid for one trip only but may be issued to include a return move.
Extended permits may be issued on an annual basis and are issued based on the vehicle/load being transported. There may be various categories of permits including construction, miscellaneous, agricultural, pipe and pole, and modular or mobile home. “Annual” refers to a 12-month period. It may be issued in any month and expire at the end of the 12th month.
Contact the state(s) involved. The Permits may be issued by the States without regard to the axle number, gross weight, or Federal bridge formula requirements for nondivisible vehicles or loads. Nondivisible is defined as any load or vehicle exceeding applicable length or weight limits which, if separated into smaller loads or vehicles, would:
i. Compromise the intended use of the vehicle, i.e., make it unable to perform the function for which it was intended;
ii. Destroy the value of the load or vehicle, i.e., make it unusable for its intended purpose; or
iii. Require more than 8 work hours to dismantle using appropriate equipment. The applicant for a nondivisible load permit has the burden of proof as to the number of workhours required to dismantle the load.
Generally, if a vehicle is oversize or overweight, a permit is needed. This permit authorizes movement according to vehicle configurations and weight. A permit may be required if the:
Note: There are many determining factors when reviewing oversize/overweight permitting requirements. The above bullets are "general" guidelines. Individual states may vary as to when OS/OW permits are required, and when carriers of OS/OW loads may operate.
Individual states are responsible for issuing OS/OW permits. This is true even within the Western Region Agreement (WRA) states. The only difference is that the operator need only apply to one state to obtain operation permits through other WRA states. The WRA administration coordinates permits with other WRA states, collects the total fee for the requested trip, distributes the payment to the states involved, and delivers the required documents to the operator.
To obtain State permits, you will need to contact the State(s) in which you wish to travel. Follow the link below for a list of states and provinces and telephone numbers for information and OS/OW permit applications: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/sw/permit_report/index.htm