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Q1: When do I need a Caltrans Transportation Permit ?
for a Permit:
Permits can only be issued
for the movement of loads and/or vehicles when there exists good
cause and the loads and/or vehicles are reasonably non-divisible.
General guidelines toward divisibility are:
any load or vehicle **exceeding applicable
length, width, height, or weight
limits** which if separated into
smaller loads or vehicles would:
the intended use of the vehicle, i.e., make it unable to
perform the function for which it was intended.
the value for the load or vehicle, i.e., make it unable to
perform the function for which it was intended.
*** For a more information on legal truck size and weight limitations please click
Permits cannot be issued to circumvent the California Vehicle
Code. Permits cannot be used to allow movement of vehicles
when placed out of service for size or weight infractions.
Q2: What types of permits are available, and how much do they cost ?
Trip* ($16): 7 Consecutive
Days Duration. A single trip permit is from a single origin to a single destination
in one direction of travel.
Duration. Available for certain envelope loads or specific vehicles
on specified highways.
($90): Maximum of
90-Day Duration. Basically a single trip permit for the delivery
of the same load over the same route on a repeated basis (i.e.,
Overwidth pipe to a project).
width over 15 feet, length over 135 feet, and special hauling
equipment, see Question #13 on this page.
Q3: How do I obtain a Caltrans Transportation Permit ?
this Web Site: How to Apply
a Permit Service: Experienced
personnel who charge a fee to
obtain a permit for their client.
Recommended for applicants who
are not familiar with program
Q4: What are the acceptable methods for payment ?
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
Payment accepted in person at the counter, through the mail, or through Fax. When paying through mail or fax, include the card number and expiration date in appropriate areas on the application form.
Q5: What are the required accompaniments ?
Q6: What about the time and day of authorized travel ?
Q7: In general, when are Pilot Cars and Highway Patrol Escort required ?
Q8: What about Lighting requirements ?
For enforcement reasons, these questions should be directed to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at (916) 843-3400.
In general . . .
Warning Lights: CVC Sec. 25270: Any pilot car required by the permit referred to in Section 35780 or 35790, or any vehicle or combination of vehicles subject to the permit if specified in the permit, shall be equipped with flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides or rear. The pilot car and any vehicles required by the permit to have flashing amber warning lights, shall display the flashing amber warning lights while actually engaged in the movement described in the permit. The warning lamps shall be removed or covered with opaque material whenever the pilot car is not escorting the movement described in the permit.
Lamp on Projecting Load: CVC Sec. 25103. Whenever the load upon any vehicle extends from the left
side of the vehicle one foot or more, there shall be displayed at the
extreme left side of the load during darkness:
(a) An amber lamp plainly visible for 300 feet to the front and
rear of the vehicle.
(b) An amber lamp at the front visible for 300 feet to the front
and a red lamp at the rear plainly visible for 300 feet to the rear
of the vehicle if the projecting load exceeds 120 inches in length.
The lamp shall not contain a bulb rated in excess of six
Projecting Lights, Mirrors or Devices: CVC Sec. 35109: Lights, mirrors, or devices which are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend beyond the permissible width of the vehicle to a distance not exceeding 10 inches on each side of the vehicle.
Clearance and Side-Marker Lamps: Shall comply with CVC Sec. 25100.
For more information related to lighting equipment, please refer to Division 12, Chapter 2 of the California Vehicle Code.
Q9: What about Warning Sign requirements ?
reasons, these questions should be directed to the California Highway
Patrol (CHP) at (916) 843-3400.
Warning Signs on Loads
and/or Vehicles: All loads and/or vehicles
being moved on State highways which exceed 8'-6" in width,
in length shall display appropriate warning signs.
Signs shall be posted on
the front and rear of the vehicle or on the front of the lead vehicle
and the rear of the back trailer with multi-vehicle combinations.
The lettering shall be a 10-inch minimum height with a 1-5/8-inch
minimum brush stroke, and a minimum 1-inch margin all around. All
signs shall be black letters on a yellow background, mounted at
least 18 inches above the road surface front and rear. Signs shall
be neat, clean, legible, mounted securely and visible from straight
ahead or behind and to 45-degree either side thereof.
Signs shall be posted on
front and rear and shall read
"LONG LOAD" or "OVERSIZE". The "LONG LOAD" sign
shall be used whenever overall length exceeds 100 feet. The "OVERSIZE"
sign shall be used for shorter lengths and other oversize features.
The more definitive signs reading
"WIDE LOAD", "LONG LOAD",
"OVERSIZE LOAD", "EXCESSIVE FRONT OVERHANG" or "EXCESSIVE
may be substituted for the "OVERSIZE"
sign when appropriate. The "LONG LOAD"
sign shall have preference when length exceeds 100-feet and other
oversize features exist.
on Pilot Cars: CVC
Sec. 27904.5: Subject to Section 35783.5,
a pilot car shall display neat, clean, and legible signs
containing the word "OVERSIZE."
The words "OVERSIZE LOAD," "WIDE LOAD," or "LONG
LOAD" may be substituted as applicable. The sign shall
be a minimum of 48 inches above the ground and shall be legible
at 45 degrees from either side when read from the front or
rear. The sign shall have a bright yellow background with
a minimum projected area of 440 square inches. The lettering
shall be black with a 1-inch minimum brush stroke width and
a 6-inch minimum letter height.
Removal of Warning
Sec. 35783.5: Warning signs required
by the terms of a permit shall either be removed from the
vehicle or covered from the view of other motorists whenever
the vehicle is operating without the load that required the
Q10: What about Flagging requirements ?
Flags on Vehicles and/or
Sec. 25104: Any vehicle or equipment
that requires a permit issued pursuant to Article 6 (commencing
with Section 35780) of Chapter 5 of Division 15 because it
is wider than permitted under Chapter 2 (commencing with
Section 35100) of Division 15 shall display a solid red or
fluorescent orange flag or cloth not less than 12 inches
square at the extreme left front and left rear of the vehicle
or equipment, if the vehicle or equipment is being operated
other than during darkness.
Q11: In general, what are the Maximum Permit Weights ?
groups with an axle spacing over 10 feet mounted to a common
frame must be steerable. For
more information regarding Maximum Permit Weights on axle groups,
view our Weight Charts.
in general. (per CVC Sec. 35550)
maximum on a steering axle.
on a single drive axle of a 2-axle tow truck.
on a single-axle mechanical distribution unit (MDU) heavy haul configuration and some
fixed load applications.
Single Axle shall exceed 30,000 pounds.
with 4'-6" axle spacing, 8-foot width, 4 tires per axle.
with 4'-6" axle spacing, 10-foot width, 8 tires per axle.
with a minimum 5'-9"axle spacing, 10-foot width, 8 tires per axle.
maximum allowable axle spacing for a tandem axle is 8'-0".
Q12: What about Inspections?
Q13: What about equipment reviews?
Equipment reviews may be requested for unusual equipment which may fall outside of Caltrans’ extralegal vehicle parameters or policies. Equipment reviews are performed by the Transportation Permits Policy and Compliance Branch Equipment Engineer (Equipment Engineer).
To determine the transportation permit qualification of unusual vehicles, please provide the following information for each proposed permit vehicle.
1. A cover letter on company letter head signed and dated by a company officer with the following information:
( ) Detailed equipment description and primary task.
( ) Haul, drive or tow.
( ) Description and purpose of all non-integral components that will accompany the equipment during transport (outriggers, load block, internal components, etc.).
( ) Signing officer’s title, mailing address and telephone number.
2. One (1) 11” X 17” drawing of the equipment with plan and elevation views.
( ) Manufacturer’s company name, mailing address, phone and model number.
( ) All equipment component dimensions (height, width, length, axle spreads &
( ) If expandable/stretchable show least and greatest dimensions.
( ) All suspension types with sufficient details to qualify.
( ) Number of tires on each axle and tire and wheel ratings.
( ) Ratings and requested weights for each axle/axle group.
( ) Indicate all axle types (steering, lift, flip, etc.).
( ) Indicate mechanical distribution units (MDUs) and other special components.
3. Copies of all California Transportation Permit applications and related material.
4. Close-up photographs showing the entire front, rear and both side views.
5. Include a copy of this checklist with your submittal. Equipment Reviews
Please be sure to include all requested information on the equipment drawing, clearly written. Please be sure to provide both plan and elevation views (top and side views) on the equipment drawing. Please provide all dimensions in feet and inches, weight in pounds.
All submittals are processed in a timely manner. For scheduling purposes, please allow a minimum of 20 business days for review. Once the review is complete, a letter containing the findings and decision will be issued.
The Equipment Engineer may be reached at the following telephone number (916) 654-4385.
Q14: When is a Variance Permit required ?
All applications over 15 feet
in width, over 17 feet in height, over 135 feet in length, or on special hauling equipment which
exceeds the Department's standard method of weight classification
must be approved by special processing. Written route surveys are required from the applicant for heights greater than 17 feet.
Variance Contact Info: Phone: (916) 323-2893, Fax: (916) 322-1505
Variance requests shall be submitted to the Transportation Permit Office no later than 30 days in advance
of the proposed move. The application should be addressed
"Attention Variance Coordinator." Applications shall include inspection reports,
engineering justification from the manufacturer and drawing of the
item(s) to be moved.
In addition to the above, the variance program provides a means to
apply for exception to policy when good cause exists. Written application
should explain the nature of the need for exception and what safety
measures will be taken.
Q15: What about Manufactured Housing maximum length/width ?
Maximum Width: 16'-0"
including eves. No hardship program.
Units less than 12'-0" width require a tractor not less than 6,500 pounds.
- Units at 12'-0" width or above require a tractor not less than 9,500 pounds.
Maximum Length: 80'-0" unit length including tongue.
Maximum Combination Vehicle Length:
- 105'-0" for a two-axle power unit.
- Unlimited for a power unit with three or more axles.
Q16: Any other requirements ?
Caltrans only has authority
to address size, weight, and times of movement as to safety. An oversize
or weight permit does not relieve the applicant from any other rules,
conditions, state law or federal law that may be applicable. In addition,
Caltrans can only permit on State Highways. Travel on city streets
and county roads must be accomplished under permit of the appropriate
Q17: How do I obtain a copy of the Transportation Permits Manual or the Single Trip Pilot Car Maps?
- The Transportation Permits
Manual can be ordered from our Publications Unit. The cost is $27.00.
The Single Trip Pilot Car
Maps can be ordered from our Publications Unit. The cost is $15.00.
Go to the Publications Unit website where you can view all available publications and download the
forms necessary to place an order. You can also order directly
using your credit card. Publications staff can be reached at: (916) 263-0822, (916)
263-0865 or by fax at: (916) 263-0469.
Q18: How do I submit a request for an exception, new policy, or revision to a current Transportation Permit Policy?
here to view the procedures that should be
taken in order to submit such a request.
Q19: How do I submit a request for an equipment exception, new policy, or revision to a current transportation permit policy?
Q20: How do I submit a request for changes to pilot car map designation?
here first (guidelines) and then click
here (checklist) to view the procedures that should be taken
in order to submit such a request.
Q21: How do I submit a request for a change to the Red Route Summary Table?
Q22: How do I submit a request for a change to the Route Color Classification?
Q23: When do I need a direct crossing permit?
Direct Crossing Permit: Caltrans is authorized to issue a permit for a vehicle that crosses the highway from one property to another, pursuant to California law. The permit, called a Direct Crossing Permit, exempts the vehicle from registration, as long as the vehicle is only crossing the highway and not traveling on the highway. The allowable distance traveled under California law is determined on a case by case basis; there is no maximum distance in order to provide permit writers discretion in issuance of direct crossing permits. The requested route is verified by Transportation Permits Office staff.
For more information on Direct Crossing Permit please click here.
Please contact local authorities for direct crossing permits whenever there is a route which includes travel on streets, roads or highways within their respective jurisdictions.
Permits Issuance Branch
1823 14th St., Sacramento, CA 95811-7119
Main Phone: (916) 322-1297
Single Trip Fax: (916) 322-4966
Annual/Repetitive Fax: (916) 445-0469
Variance Fax: (916) 322-1505
Office Hours: 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri
(Closed on State Holidays except ML King Day, Cesar Chavez Day, & Veterans Day)
Walk-In Hours: 8am-3pm, Mon-Fri
(Closed on State Holidays)
Special Conditions for Holiday Travel
2019 Office Holiday Info
After-Hours Permit Emergencies: (916) 653-3442
Emergency Permit Procedures