Traffic Management

Abnormal Loads

What is an Abnormal Load?

An Abnormal Load generally describes a vehicle:

  • carrying more than 44 tonnes
  • being wider than 3 metres
  • being longer than 18.75 metres

Regulations on the movement of Abnormal Loads

The Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) (General) Order 2003 – SI No 1998 sets out the regulations for abnormal loads.

More information about this and associated regulations can be found on the Department for Transport website.

Notice Periods

The law requires the haulier to give a minimum of two clear days notice, excluding weekends and Bank Holidays, to the Police, Highway Authority and Bridge owners before moving the load depending on the dimensions of the load. See Notification Period Table for more details.

Notification Requirements

Hauliers wanting to transport an abnormal load within Hampshire and/or Southampton City, must inform us by fax or email before any move is scheduled to take place. The following information should be provided:

  • the origin and destination of the abnormal load
  • dates of the journey
  • detailed proposed route
  • full configuration of the vehicle, including width, weight, length, height, axle loadings and spacing.

Before a haulier can move an abnormal load they must notify and gain consent from the local Highways Authority and/or Police. In addition, if the gross weight or axle weights exceed those specified in the Construction and Use regulations he must indemnify the Highway Authority and all bridge owners along the proposed route (eg Network Rail).

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 eg. motorways, A Class roads.

The haulier is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the route is suitable for the intended abnormal load and will be charged for the removal and reinstatement of any street furniture.

Contact Details

You can notify Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council, for whom we act as agents, of an abnormal load movement by email on abnormal.loads@hants.gov.uk, or by fax on 01962 854045. For telephone enquiries please call 01962 832240. Portsmouth City Council have their own Abnormal Loads Office.

Abnormal loads - recommended routes

The County Council may direct that a haulier takes a specific route when moving an abnormal load.