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The movement of large or heavy loads and cranes that exceed regulations are called Abnormal Loads. They can be permitted provided they comply with Special Types General Orders.

Construction and Use Regulations provide the law by which normal motor vehicles and trailers (up to a maximum of 40 tonnes) are built and operate on the road.

How big can abnormal loads be?

Loads over 150 tonnes, 6.1 metres wide or 27.4 metres long need Special Orders from the Department of Transport. The largest loads moved in recent years was a Gas Turbine for a power station. The dimensions on the trailer were 80 metres long, 5.95 metres wide, 5.84 metres high and weighed 432 tonnes pulled by two 40 tonne tractors.

An Abnormal Load generally describes a vehicle of:

  • carrying more than 44 tonnes

  • being wider than 3 metres

  • being longer than 18.75 metres

Where and when can they be moved?

An abnormal load can potentially go on any road provided the haulier complies with the law including weight limits. Some roads are more suitable and more extensively used e.g. A Class Roads. Before a haulier can move an abnormal load they must notify the Police. If the gross weight or axle weights exceed those specified in the Construction and Use regulations they must compensate the Highway Authority and all bridge owners along the proposed route.

What information do we need?

Specific details that the haulier should supply for each abnormal load movement include:

  • Origin and destination of load (address and postcodes).
  • Dates of load movements
  • Details of proposed route
  • Brief details of type load, i.e. Crane, excavator
  • 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;
  • Name, address, telephone, fax numbers and e-mail address

Any request for an abnormal load movement through a proposed route must include an indemnity insurance to ensure that the cost of repairing the damage to the highway caused by transporting the abnormal load can be recovered.

What notice period is needed?

The law requires the haulier to give a minimum of two clear days notice to the Police, Highway Authority and Bridge owners before moving the load.

The notice period for loads over 147.63 tons, 6.1 metres wide or 30 metres long is different and hauliers moving such loads need special orders from the Department of Transport.

In an emergency Dudley Council will accept a lesser period provided it is checked by telephone first and then confirmed in writing.

Trunk roads

The Trunk Road Network are Motorways and other principal roads with the main purpose of providing long distance travel. An online classified roads network listing has been issued as a guide to the classified route network within the borough of Dudley.

West Midlands freight quality partnership

Many roads within the borough of Dudley are unsuitable for use by HGVs, except for access. This may be because of weight restrictions, height restrictions, width restrictions or environmental weight limits. The West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership, which is a joint working group made up of local freight operators, representatives from the Road Haulage Association, Freight Transport Association, Highways Agency and the Local Authorities, have produced The West Midlands Commercial Vehicle Driver's Road Atlas 2005 which identifies these restrictions.

If you work for a freight company and would like to help improve the freight industry in the West Midlands and you would be willing to spend a little time each quarter, then perhaps you would like to join the West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership. New members are welcome to contribute to the improvement of freight movements across the conurbation.

Report a problem with an abnormal load

If you have any concerns regarding an abnormal load, please contact us

Contact us

Traffic and Road Safety
4 Ednam Road

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm
Offices are closed on weekends and bank holidays