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24 January 2022

When is it considered an abnormal load? Definition, legislation and requirements of abnormal loads in Italy

The abnormal load service is the ideal solution for all companies that have to transport goods by road that exceed certain limits.

But what is an abnormal load??

Although the name itself makes it clear that this is an “out of the ordinary” transport, not everyone knows what load is truly abnormal.

First of all, an abnormal load is defined as such when it involves transporting goods by road with a vehicle that exceeds the shape, mass or safety limits established by the Highway Code.

Abnormal loads: what does the Highway Code say?

the Abnormal loads in Italy are regulated by Article 10 of the Highway Code: “Abnormal loads” which can be read in its entirety on the ACI website..

In essence, Article 10 establishes what is meant by abnormal loads: “..the vehicle is abnormal when its running configuration exceeds, for specific functional requirements, the shape or mass limits established in Articles 61 and 62”.

What are the dimensions of abnormal loads in Italy?

In order to be defined as abnormal, the loads must be loaded on vehicles that exceed the following dimensions:

  • 2.55 metres wide (which goes up to 2.6 metres for temperature-controlled vehicles)
  • 4 metres high
  • 16.50 metres long if it is a car or tractor with trailer or semi-trailer, while if it is a lorry with a semi-trailer the length must exceed 18.75 metres 18.75 metres
  • from 18 to 20 tonnes of weight in the case of rigid vehicles with two axles, while in the case of articulated lorries from 3 to 5+ axles, the tonnage goes to 22–24

When is an abnormal load vehicle defined as a work vehicle?

According to Article 54 of the Highway Code , work vehicles are defined as vehicles or vehicle combinations equipped with particular equipment for loading and transporting materials used or resulting from construction, road, mining excavation and assimilated materials or that complete the production cycle of specific building construction materials while on the move.

These vehicles or vehicle combinations can be used for transport in excess of the mass limits established in Article 62.

The weight limits of the work vehicles distinguish them from lorries : the limit is 13 tonnes for the most loaded axle, 20 for two-axle vehicles, 33 with three axles and 40 for those with a higher number of axles.

Coupled with a trailer, unlike normal lorries and articulated lorries, the limits are 44 tonnes for four axles, 56 tonnes for five or more axles, 54 tonnes for transporting concrete in concrete mixers. 

Trasporti eccezionali: pedaggi speciali

The high weight of abnormal loads results in greater wear of the road infrastructure and, for this reason, abnormal load vehicles are subject to the payment of special tolls established by Article 34 of the Highway Code.

To travel, the work vehicle must be equipped with a special sign proving the payment of a wear and tear indemnity, for an amount equal to the excise license, to be paid at the same time and for the same duration.

For vehicles travelling on motorways, an additional sum must be paid to the licensees to supplement the wear and tear indemnity. This sum is equivalent to the motorway tax applied to the vehicle in normal conditions, increased by 50%, and must be paid together with the normal tax at the manually controlled doors.

Abnormal loads: permits to travel

Special authorisations are required for vehicles travelling that exceed the limits established by Articles 61 and 62. These authorisations must be requested from the road infrastructure at least 15 days before the trip and must be kept until arrival at the destination.

The main types of authorisations for abnormal loads are divided into:

  • single (valid for 1 month and for one trip only)
  • multiple (valid for 3 months and for a limited number of trips)
  • periodic (valid from 6 months to 1 year for an unlimited number of trips) 

Among the limitations of abnormal loads there may be restrictions related to travel times (sometimes only at night) and the itinerary to be followed.

Abnormal loads: when is the technical escort needed?

If the transit of the abnormal load vehicle requires the total closure of the road with the preparation of alternative routes, the technical escort must request the intervention of the relevant traffic police bodies for the territory which, if circumstances allow, they can authorise the technical escort personnel themselves to assist the police personnel or to carry out the necessary operations directly.

the The technical escort is mandatory when at least one of the following conditions occurs:

  • lane width of less than 3.00 m when the vehicle or load is abnormal in length or height only
  • lane width less than 3.50 m if the load is abnormal, in width as well
  • vehicle or load with a width greater than 3.00 m
  • vehicles or load longer than 25.00 m
  • load cornering path greater than the width of the lane reduced by 20 cm
  • load protruding at the front for more than 2.50 m or at the rear for more than 3/10 of the length of the vehicle
  • lorry speed below 30 km/h (40 km/h in the case of motorways or main extra-urban roads
  • lane less than 3 metres wide when the load is abnormal in length or height only
  • lane less than 3.5 metres wide when the load is abnormal even in width
  • vehicle or load more than 3 metres wide
  • vehicle or load more than 25 metres long
  • load protruding forward by 2.5 metres
  • load protruding from the rear more than 4/10 of the length of the vehicle
  • lorry speeds of less than 30 km/h or less than 40 km/h on motorways or main extra-urban roads

Compulsory signage for abnormal loads

Abnormal load vehicles must travel with all lights on and with directional signalling devices on intermittently. They must also be equipped with signalling panels and luminous devices according to their characteristics.

Abnormal loads with Aldieri

With extensive experience and a fleet of highly specialised vehicles, we are prepared for all the challenges posed by abnormal and specialised international transport.

Thanks to the vast fleet we use, we can offer multiple units of trailers so that we can make several trips at the same time. This allows us to increase security in individual permits and punctuality in loads, as well as foresee any unforeseen events that may occur in our work. possiamo offrire molteplici unità di carrelli così da poter eventualmente effettuare più viaggi in contemporanea; questo ci permette di aumentare la sicurezza nei permessi singoli e la puntualità nei carichi, prevedono anche gli eventuali imprevisti che possono accadere nel nostro lavoro.

With regard to loads with permanent permits, we are able to make vehicles available with notice between 48 and 72 hours.

Find out about our fleet of vehicles for abnormal loads, what we can transport and everything we can do for you!

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