Abnormal loads are when a load cannot be dismantled into units that can be transported within the limits, mass and/or dimensions of a classified normal load. An abnormal load consists of one or more of the following:
- Weighs more than 44,000 kilograms
- An axle load of more than 10,000 kilograms for a single non-driving axle
- Wider than 2.9 metres
(Dimension details taken from GOV.UK website)
Abnormal loads often require a specialist service that obtains the right qualifications, permits and licenses, as well as the right loading tools and facilities such as trailers, ramps and loaders.
It requires extra fees and permits to transport abnormal loads, and there is usually a specific route that should be taken on an assigned date and time. It is against the law to transport an abnormal load without consent from the police, highway authorities and any bridge and structure owners (e.g. Network Rail) that you will cross on your route.
In the US, a pilot car is usually hired to lead the abnormal load, with the intentions to protect pedestrians and drivers on the route that is being taken. The pilot car displays a yellow ‘OVERSIZED LOAD’ sign with amber lights.
Abnormal and oversized loads can be dangerous due to their size, and can also damage roads and bridges. This is why travelling on an assigned route to suit the load as best as possible is important.
Rachel Jefferies, Editor, Freight Media