Abnormal loads

Information about abnormal loads for hauliers.

What is an abnormal load?

An abnormal load can generally be described as a vehicle of:

  • more than 44 tonnes gross vehicle weight
  • an axle load of more that 11.5 tonnes
  • width of more than three metres or a length greater than 18.75 metres long.

As a haulier, you need to give a minimum of two to five clear days' notice to the police, Highway Authority (Oxfordshire County Council) and other bridge owners such as Network Rail (if their bridges are being crossed) before moving an abnormal load.

Where and when can abnormal loads be moved?

An abnormal load can potentially go on any road, provided the haulier complies with the law including signed structural and environmental weight limits. Some roads are more suitable and more extensively used - for example, motorways and A class roads.

The haulier is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the route is suitable for the intended abnormal load. We are able to advise on the structural capacity of bridges but do not hold information on road widths, street furniture locations or overhanging structures and vegetation.

There are recommended routes for access to the larger industrial sites such as Didcot Power Station and Cowley BMW works. See our lorry routes pages for maps and details.

Who to notify

Email Thames Valley Police at abloads@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk. They are able to issue annual dispensations for moving such loads.

For further advice, our Bridge Office is the key contact for the movement of abnormal loads within the county please contact bridges@oxfordshire.gov.uk