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Pennsylvania Oversize/Overweight Permit (6-PA-a)

Information current as of 2020
In Pennsylvania, a person (developer) may need a Special Hauling Permit (“Permit”) from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) to transport an oversize or overweight load on state roads. PennDOT regulates the issuance of Permits, pursuant to 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 49 and 67 Pa. Code § 179.

Oversize/Overweight Permit Process

6-PA-a.1 to 6-PA-a.2 – Does the Movement Exceed Applicable Size or Weight Regulations?

In Pennsylvania, an oversize vehicle has several definitions. Some oversize definitions include a vehicle and load that have:

  • A width of greater than eight (8) feet;
  • A height of greater than 13 feet and six (6) inches; or
  • A length of greater than 40 feet.

75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 49 Subchapter B.

An overweight vehicle has several definitions. Some overweight definitions include a vehicle and load that has:

  • A gross weight of greater than 80,000 pounds;
  • A single wheel load of greater than 800 pounds for each nominal inch of the width of the tire; or
  • A weight on the steering axle of greater than 20,000 pounds.

75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 49 Subchapter C.

If the movement does not exceed any applicable size or weight regulations, no Permit is needed.

6-PA-a.3 to 6-PA-a.4 – Is the Movement Considered a Super Load?

In Pennsylvania, a super load is defined as “a vehicle or combination or load having a gross weight exceeding 201,00 pounds, a total length exceeding 160 feet or a total width exceeding 16 feet.” 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3108(c). If the developer’s proposed movement is considered a super load, the developer must follow the PennDOT Super Load Application Package Instructions to obtain a super load permit.

6-PA-a.5 – Register with PennDOT’s Central Permit Office (Optional)

The developer may choose to register with PennDOT’s Central Permit Office. In order to do so, the developer must file a M-936RA Registration Form and a M-936B Surety Bond Form with the Central Permit Office. The surety bond must be in the amount of at least $2,000 or greater as required by the Central Permit Office. 67 Pa. Code § 179.4.

Additionally, the developer may choose to submit a APRAS Registration Form to PennDOT’s Central Permit Office. If PennDOT approves the APRAS Registration Form, PennDOT provides the developer access to the Automated Permit Routing/Analysis System (APRAS), which is a PennDOT database that allows developers to apply for permits electronically.

6-PA-a.6 – Obtain Insurance

Prior to applying for a Permit, the developer must obtain appropriate insurance for the proposed project. The insurance is obtained from an insurer that has a certificate of authority and a licensed agent authorized to transact insurance business in the state of Pennsylvania. The insurance must:

  • Be in effect for the duration of the Permit;
  • Be occurrence-based insurance, not claims based;
  • Insure the following amounts:
    • $250,00 per person (public liability and property damage); and
    • $1,000,000 per occurrence (public liability and property damage); and
  • Name the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an additional insured for the property damage and personal liability amounts listed above.

67 Pa. Code § 179.7(b); PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit Instructions.

6-PA-a.7 – General Application for Special Hauling Permit

The developer must submit a Permit Application (“Application”) to the district or county office that has jurisdiction over the oversize/overweight load’s point of origin or destination. The Application can be delivered in person, by mail, fax or other wire method approved by PennDOT. If the developer is registered with PennDOT’s Central Permit Office, the developer may submit the Application through PennDOT’s Automated Permit Routing/Analysis System. The Application must include:

  • The type of Permit requested;
  • Previous Permit numbers if a previous Permit was issued within the past thirty (30) days and is similar to the Application being submitted;
  • The developer’s account number, if the developer is registered with PennDOT’s Central Permit Office;
  • A certificate of the developer’s insurance, if the developer is not registered with PennDOT’s Central Permit Office;
  • The vehicle’s gross weight (the combined weight of the vehicle, the load and the driver);
  • The vehicle’s legal weight (as listed on the motor vehicle registration);
  • The maximum operating length of the vehicle and load;
  • The maximum operating width of the vehicle and load (excluding vehicle side mirrors);
  • The maximum operating height of the vehicle and load;
  • Information on the load, including:
    • The number of loads to be transported under the Permit;
    • The load serial number or load bill of lading number;
    • PennDOT’s appropriate type code for the load (listed in the Permit Instructions); and
    • A general description of the load;
  • Information on the vehicle, including:
    • The number of vehicles used;
    • The type of vehicle(s) used;
    • The vehicle(s) license plate and VIN number(s);
    • The number of axles on each vehicle;
    • Each axle weight; and
    • The distances between each axle;
  • Information on the proposed route, including:
    • The starting point of the proposed route;
    • The destination of the proposed route; and
    • The total mileage on state routes;
  • The proposed dates for moving; and
  • Whether alternative routes can be used.

67 Pa. Code § 179.8; PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit Instructions.

The developer must also submit a fee along with the Application. The fee must be submitted as a certified check or money order, unless the developer is registered in PennDOT’s Central Permit Office, in which case, the fee may be submitted as a company check. The Application fee is $35 if the operating width is less than or equal to 14 feet, and $71 if the operating width is greater than 14 feet. For overweight Permit Applications, an additional four (4) cents per ton-mile is assessed in the Application fee. The Application includes a table for calculating overweight ton-mile fees. PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit Instructions.

6-PA-a.8 to 6-PA-a.9 – Does the Developer Need to Submit Supplemental Applications?

In addition to filing the PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit, a developer may also need to file supplemental applications.

Gross Weight: If the gross weight of a vehicle or combination exceeds 136,000 pounds or the combination general gross weight limits in Table 8-1 of 67 Pa. Code § 179.8, the developer must submit an M-936AS Supplemental Application for Overweight Special Hauling Permit (“M-936AS Form”).

Axle Weight: If any axle weight exceeds 27,000 pounds, the developer must also submit an M-936AS Form.

Number of Axles: If the vehicle or vehicle combination has more than nine (9) axles and an M-936AS Form is not being submitted, the developer must submit an M-936AM Form.

Return Trip: The Application only grants the developer a one-way trip. If the developer requests a return trip, the developer must submit an M-936AM Form.

Route Survey: PennDOT may request the developer submit an M-936ARS Route Survey Application if the developer certifies that the route(s) has been surveyed for excessively oversized movements, including:

  • Super loads;
  • Bridge vertical clearance disputes;
  • Construction project lateral clearance disputes; and
  • Excessively long (more than 100 feet) movements involving turns in urban areas.

PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit Instructions.

6-PA-a.10 to 6-PA-a.11 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

After receiving an Application, PennDOT reviews the Application for administrative and technical completeness. If the Application is not complete, PennDOT notifies the developer of the deficiencies.

6-PA-a.12 to 6-PA-a.13 – Review Application for Approval

After determining the Application is complete, PennDOT reviews the Application, and makes a decision on whether a Permit should be granted, denied, or granted with special conditions. During the review, PennDOT considers whether the movement can be made in another feasible manner, and whether the movement is in the public interest. 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 4901(c).

Another factor considered by PennDOT is the developer’s ability to reasonably dismantle, reduce or disassemble the load so that it would not exceed size and weight requirements. Even if dismantling, reducing or disassembling the load would not bring the load within the size and weight requirements, the PennDOT still requires the developer to do as much dismantling, reducing or disassembling as is practicable. 67 Pa. Code § 179.9(c).

PennDOT may also consult with the Pennsylvania State Police to determine whether a police escort is necessary. 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 4901(c).

If PennDOT denies the Application, PennDOT provides a letter of denial, which allows the developer to correct the condition(s) that caused the denial.

6-PA-a.14 – Special Hauling Permit

If PennDOT approves the Application, a Permit is issued to the developer. The Permit is subject to the conditions listed by PennDOT in the Permit and any Permit supplements, if applicable. Additional conditions may include, but are not limited to time and weather restrictions, the presence of escorts in the form of either developer-controlled pilot cars or police escorts, or other vehicle and route restrictions. 67 Pa. Code § 179.10.

If an escort is required, the developer is responsible for the cost of the escort.

The Permit issued by PennDOT is subject to the following general conditions:

  • The developer must carry the Permit and a copy of Form M-938 in the permitted vehicle and have these documents available for inspection by a police officer or representative of PennDOT;
  • The Permit may not be assigned or transferred to another person or carried by another person while operating under the permit;
  • The Permit may not supersede a lesser weight limit posted on a bridge or highway however, the developer may apply to the Department or local authorities, whichever is responsible for the posting, for a Permit to exceed the posted weight;
  • The granting of a Permit is not considered as a guarantee of the sufficiency of a highway or structure to handle the authorized load;
  • The developer must comply with applicable statutes and regulations of the state and its political subdivisions, unless specifically exempted by the Permit or its supplement;
  • Certain highway restrictions, including:
    • The Permit authorizes movement only on the roadway portion of highways specified in the Permit that are under the jurisdiction of PennDOT. The Permit does not authorize movement upon shoulders except in a highway work zone in which traffic is directed to travel off the roadway.
    • The Permit is not valid for movement on the Pennsylvania Turnpike unless otherwise authorized in 75 Pa. Cons. Stat.;
    • Permission must be obtained from local authorities for the use of local roads and streets, which are listed in brackets or parentheses on the Permit;
    • Permission must be obtained from the National Park Service for travel on Traffic Route 209 between its intersection with TR 402 in Monroe County and TR 6 in Pike County; and
    • The vehicle may deviate from the route authorized in the Permit only when specifically directed by a police officer exhibiting some sign of authority;
  • Movement under the Permit is restricted during unfavorable weather or road conditions, including:
    • Snow covered highways until the pavement has been plowed full width;
    • Icy pavements until the highway has been cindered or salted;
    • Driving rain, fog, snowstorms or other atmospheric conditions that restrict visibility to less than 1,000 feet; and
    • Winds sufficient to cause the wheels of the semitrailer to deflect more than 6 inches from the path of the wheels of the drawing vehicle;
  • Restricted travel periods, unless otherwise exempted, including:
    • Sunset to sunrise;
    • Saturday, after 12 noon;
    • Sunday;
    • New Year’s Day (January 1st) and the day preceding;
    • Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and the day preceding;
    • Independence Day (July 4th) and the day preceding;
    • Labor Day (first Monday in September) and the day preceding;
    • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) and the day preceding; and
    • Christmas Day (December 25th) and the day preceding;
  • Movement in urbanized areas (subject to holiday restrictions) is restricted to the following times:
    • 3 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.;
    • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
    • 7 p.m. to sunset; and
    • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill or Liberty Tunnels in Allegheny County;
  • The Permit is subject to confiscation by the violation of a specified condition or by the violation of 67 Pa. Code § 179. Providing false information on the Application automatically invalidates the Permit;
  • The developer is liable for any claim for personal injury or property damage arising out of operation under the Permit for which the developer is legally responsible;
  • The developer must repair any overt damage to highways or structures that occurs in connection with operations under the Permit;
  • Clean yellow warning signs at least seven (7) feet wide by at least 18 inches high and containing only the words ‘‘OVERSIZE LOAD’’ in black letters at least ten (10) inches high with a two (2)-inch letter stroke, must be mounted on the front of the oversize vehicle and on the rear of the oversize vehicle or load, unless otherwise specified in the Permit;
  • A oversize vehicle may not travel within 1,000 feet of another oversize vehicle traveling in the same direction;
  • The permitted vehicle should not allow a build-up of traffic to the rear in excess of six (6) vehicles unless there is no open road ahead. At the first opportunity when and where it is reasonable and safe to do so and after giving appropriate signal, the oversize vehicle pulls off the highway, to allow traffic build-up to pass safely; and
  • A motor vehicle operating along a state highway that has a gross weight above 80,000 pounds must be equipped with an engine-brake retarder, exhaust-brake retarder, or a hydraulic-brake retarder to supplement the service brakes.

67 Pa. Code § 179.10.

PennDOT may also assess an additional fee the developer must pay when being issued the Permit. Additional fees are issued pursuant to, and in an amount in accordance with 67 Pa. Code § 179.9(e).

PennDOT may modify a Permit by issuing a Permit supplement. The developer may also request a Permit supplement from PennDOT, and must provide the reason(s) for the request. 67 Pa. Code § 179.9(g).

6-PA-a.15 – Appeal Decision (Optional)

The developer may appeal PennDOT’s decision to deny a Permit by submitting a written request for a hearing within 30 days after the notice of denial is served by PennDOT. The request must be submitted to the Administrative Docket Clerk in PennDOT’s Office of Chief Counsel. The request must also include a filing fee as prescribe in 67 Pa. Code § 491.5. 2 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5; PennDOT General Application for Special Hauling Permit Instructions.

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Contact Information

Edit Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Oversize/Overweight Permit Contact 717-783-6473 Visit Website