Abnormal loads and weight limits

Advice on transporting abnormal loads on our roads and the steps you should follow to notify us.

Hauliers and crane operators must give a minimum of two days' notice to the highway authority and bridge owners before moving an abnormal load.

If any vehicle or vehicle combination has a gross weight greater than 80 tonnes, hauliers must give a minimum of five days' notice.

Annually, the haulier should provide a form of indemnity which indemnifies us in respect of any damage that is caused during any journey for which we have been notified. The haulier may then go ahead with the proposed movement unless contacted by the abnormal loads officer, who will suggest that an alternative route be taken and will be able to supply specific information about bridge height and weight restrictions.

Frequently asked questions

In terms of size, an abnormal load is defined as a vehicle that has any of the following:

  • A weight of more than 44,000kg;
  • An axle load of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle and 11,500kg for a single driving axle;
  • A width of more than 2.9m;
  • A length of more than 18.65m; or
  • A height of vehicle is greater than 5.03m.

The following details should be provided:

  • Origin and destination of load (address and postcodes);
  • Dates of load movements;
  • Details of proposed route (M180, M18, M62 Junction 34, A19 etc);
  • Brief details of type load ('crane', 'excavator' etc);
  • Length, width and height of load (and whether load can be reduced in height);
  • Gross vehicle weight;
  • Individual axle weights and axle spacing (and number of wheels per axle);
  • Vehicle registration number; and
  • Name, address, telephone, fax numbers and email address.

There is no charge for processing the notifications or indemnities. However, charges will be made for other services, including:

  • If calculations are required to determine if the bridge or other structure is suitable to carry the abnormal load; and
  • If any street furniture is required to be removed and replaced.

The work will only start on receipt of an order, based on an estimate, but actual costs will be charged. Payment is usually by cheque made payable to North Yorkshire County Council or by invoice. A load is not allowed to move until authorised.

As the highway authority, we can make Traffic Regulation Orders to control all types of traffic, including weight limits for lorries.

We have to consult on any proposed order and publish notices on site and in the local press detailing the proposal and inviting any objections, which, if they can't be resolved, must be reported to the relevant county council area committee.

Weight limits are a form of traffic regulation order, mostly introduced to protect parts of the highway network, such as weak bridges. Signs indicate the maximum gross vehicle weight of vehicles permitted to use the bridge.

Orders can also be introduced for environmental reasons. Such restrictions generally require exemptions allowing access for loading and unloading. These exemptions make these types of restrictions relatively difficult to enforce.

Enforcement of weight limits in North Yorkshire is the responsibility of North Yorkshire Police. In areas where there are concerns that weight restrictions are being ignored, trading standards and planning services officers also carry out enforcement work.