Review of Virginia's Program to Regulate and Control Highway Transport of Overwidth Vehicles

Report No: 94-TAR1

Published in 1993

About the report:

Federal and Virginia laws restrict the width of commercial vehicles traveling on interstate and federal-aid highways to 102 inches (8'6") without a special permit. Virginia regulations generally allow the issuance of special permits for loads up to 14 feet in width. Loads greater than 14 feet may be shipped only in exceptional circumstances. In addition, loads with buckets, blades, or scoops must be disassembled whenever the bucket, blade, or scoop exceeds 102 inches. This report examines the state hauling permit regulations for over width loads and the routine operation of the Virginia Department of Transportation's Hauling Permit Office. It describes the reasons for the width restrictions, safety concerns of the Virginia Department of Transportation's Permit Office, available data on over wide load shipments, and the concerns of the Commonwealth's Port Authority and the prefabricated housing industry that the regulations may be overly strict and excessive compared to other states. Also included are data and regulations from several states bordering on and/or economically competitive with the Commonwealth. The report lists three options for the state to amend certain of the hauling permit width restrictions or to maintain the status quo. The description of each option also includes the probable benefits and costs associated with it.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Robert J. Borhart, Cindy D. Jackson, Andrew J. Hager

Last updated: December 23, 2023

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