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Abnormal loads

How to transport an abnormal load and notify the right authorities.

What is an abnormal load?

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

  • 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 2.9 metres
  • a rigid length of more than 18.65 metres

Please refer to abnormal load at GOV.UK

If you’re responsible for transporting an abnormal load, you need to follow regulations for notifying the authorities.

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.

The Lorry Routes website may currently be of limited use as the restrictions are in the process of being updated.

For further advice, our Bridge Office is the key contact for the movement of abnormal loads on roads for which the county council is the highway authority. Contact the Bridge Office.