Heavy Hauling: Why Do Roads Have Weight Limits?

Updated 2/17/2021

There are many ways to haul stuff. Whether you’re moving or in need of hauling services for work, there are countless applications. It’s not surprising that this is not something most people think about on a regular basis.

The most common time your average person thinks about this on a large scale is when they have trash and need to higher a haulaway trash company. The professionals at a haulaway trash company or freight hauling company will inform the average person about the best way to haul stuff. If you are looking to hire a freight hauling company then you will need to have some information ready so the company can determine the best method to haul stuff wherever it needs to go. The company generally needs to know the size and type of the materials so they can determine if they need light material handling skates or some other devices. If you are trying to move your entire house then they may need heavy duty utility rollers as well as flags and those “oversize vehicle” banners. If you are looking to move an ice sculpture or Christmas trees, then a refrigerated truck or long carrier may suit your needs.

When it comes to commercial logistics, no two carriers are the same. Transportation companies often provide a number of options to meet their clients’ needs: for example, moving produce is going to require specialty food-grade logistics, and moving extremely heavy equipment (like cranes, boilers, — even the blades or turbines used in power-generated windmills) require a heavy haul vehicle that can tolerate that kind of weight.

Heavy Haul Defined

Have you ever driven by a large container truck that had its emergency lights flashing as it drove significantly under the speed limit in the right-hand (or even the road’s shoulder) lane? Most likely, that vehicle was a heavy haul. Heavy haul trucking is capable of handling over-dimensional or overweight shipments, which can cause unique problems for those trying to ship them. By utilizing special trucks and trailers that can carry the size of whatever needs shipping, those problems become manageable. However, most trucking companies must purchase and carry a special permit issued by the governmental agencies, provinces, or municipalities they are going to be traveling through.

What Weight Limit?

If you noticed those slow-moving vehicles, you’ve probably also picked up on road signs that state weight limits. It may have seemed odd at the time — after all, roads are meant to be driven on, so why would cars be too heavy for that singular use? Those signs are in place to prevent damage as a result of a vehicle weighing so much (or carrying something that weighs so much) that the pavement beneath it cannot withstand the pressure.

The maximum allowable weight for trucks on U.S. Interstate highways is 80,000lbs — this includes tractor weight, chassis, and container weight, in addition to the cargo weight. It is vital that both are determined before the shipment begins its journey so routes can be mapped out ahead of time that avoid weight-limited roads.

Fortunately for Canada, the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative will be investing a monumental $2 billion towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Canada’s transportation infrastructure. This could mean an increase in roads that can handle heavy loads, or a complete overhaul and repair of the system currently in place.

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