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Illinois Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When Escort Vehicles are Required:

Civilian escort vehicle is required: 

  1. For all moves that exceed 14 feet 6 inches in width; 
  2. For all moves that exceed 110 feet in length; 
  3. For all moves that exceed 14 feet 6 inches in height; 
  4. For any move across, upon, or along a highway when additional warning is required to alert the traveling public. For instance, if a movement is required to travel during darkness or on a weekend to respond to an emergency situation, a civilian escort will be required. 
  5. When deemed necessary by the Department’s Bridge Office’s analysis, or by the Department’s District investigation.

Two civilian escort vehicles are required: 

  1. For all moves that exceed both 14 feet 6 inches in width and 14 feet 6 inches in height; 2) For all moves that exceed both 14 feet 6 inches in height and 110 feet in length; 
  2. For all moves that exceed both 14 feet 6 inches in width and 110 feet in length. 
  3. When deemed necessary by the Department’s Bridge Office’s analysis or by the Department’s District investigation. 

Three civilian escorts are required: 

  1. For all moves that exceed 16 feet in width; 
  2. For all moves that exceed 145 feet in length; 
  3. For all moves that exceed 18 feet in height. 
  4. When deemed necessary by the Department’s investigation.


Illinois State Police Escorts 

1) Illinois State Police escorts are required: 

  • For all moves that exceed 18 feet in width; 
  • For all moves that exceed 200 feet in length; 
  • For all moves that exceed 18 feet in height; 
  • For overweight moves where bridge restrictions require that all traffic be kept off of a structure while the permitted vehicle crosses; 
  • For any move of an unusual nature where additional traffic control is necessary to alert the motoring public to the permit movement. 
  • When deemed necessary by the Department's Bridge Office's analysis or by the Department’s District investigation. 

2) Moves requiring Illinois State Police escorts will normally be made partially or entirely outside a municipality. The permittee must make all arrangements with State Police Headquarters by calling 217/782-6527 at least 24 hours prior to the move. The Permit Office may determine a State Police escort is not necessary in some instances including but not limited to the following: 

  • on moves made within a municipality if local police are utilized as specified in Section 554.407(d); 
  • on movements where the object will only cross a State highway and minimal disruption of traffic is anticipated; or
  • on moves over 18 feet high if a field investigation reveals there are not any overhead obstructions. 

Local police escorts may be required in lieu of State Police escorts when the move is made entirely within the limits of a city or county. It is the responsibility of the permittee to make all arrangements with the local police when the permit specifies such an escort as a condition of the permit.

Requirements for Civilian Escorts 

The requirements for civilian escort vehicles and drivers are as follows: 

  • A civilian escort vehicle shall be a passenger car, or a second division vehicle, defined as in 625 ILCS 5/1-217, of the Code not exceeding a gross vehicle weight of 8,000 pounds that is designed to afford clear and unobstructed vision both front and rear. 
  • All escort vehicle operators shall be 18 years of age or over and properly licensed to operate the vehicle. 
  • While in use the escort vehicle must be equipped with illuminated, rotating, oscillating or flashing amber strobe lights mounted on top that are of sufficient intensity to be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight. 
  • When only one escort vehicle is required and when operating on a two-lane highway, the escort vehicle shall travel ahead of the load and the rotating or flashing lights and an "OVERSIZE LOAD" sign shall be displayed on the escort vehicle and be visible from the front. When operating on a multi-lane divided highway, the escort vehicle shall trail the load and the signs and lights shall be visible from the rear. 
  • When two escort vehicles are required, one escort shall travel ahead of the load and the second escort shall trail the load both with required lights and signs. 
  • Escort vehicles shall travel approximately 300 feet in front of the load on two-lane highways and the same distance to the rear on multilane highways in rural areas. However, the required escort vehicle with a height pole for overheight movements must travel in front of the load. When traveling within the corporate limits of a city or town, the escort vehicle shall maintain a reasonable and proper distance consistent with existing traffic conditions.
  • A separate escort shall be provided for each load hauled under permit. Movements in convoys are prohibited unless a State Police escort vehicle is also required, then the Permit Office may authorise convoy movement for multiple loads.
  • The operator of the escort vehicle shall obey all traffic laws. 
  • The escorting vehicle shall be in safe operational condition. 
  • The driver of the escort vehicle must be in radio contact with the driver of the permit vehicle. 
  • Owners and/or operators of escort vehicles must have in effect or be self-insured in the minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence combined bodily injury and property damage.
  • A pole for measuring vertical clearances shall be mounted on escort vehicles leading loads in excess of 14 feet 6 inches in height. The escort driver shall alert the driver of the permit vehicle to any overhead obstructions that will not clear the load. 


Source of information: http://idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Doing-Business/Manuals-Guides-&-Handbooks/Highways/Permits/Oversize%20and%20Overweight%20Permit%20Movements%20on%20State%20Highways%202015.pdf

https://itd.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/vert.pdf

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