Escort and Equipment Requirements

Escort vehicles are required to ensure the safety of the traveling public and the safe movement of the permitted vehicle.

In addition to private escorts, TxDMV may require you to obtain law enforcement escorts for your permitted vehicle.

General

The escort vehicle operator must warn the traveling public when any of the following conditions exists:

  • A permitted vehicle must travel over the center line of a narrow bridge or roadway.
  • A permitted vehicle makes any turning movement that will require the permitted vehicle to travel in the opposing traffic lanes.
  • A permitted vehicle reduces speed to cross under a low overhead obstruction or over a bridge.
  • A permitted vehicle creates an abnormal and unusual traffic flow pattern.

See the Special Escort Requirements section for manufactured housing and portable building escorts. Escort requirements for most loads and permit types are listed below.

Dimension Measurement Number and Placement of Escort(s)
Width Exceeding 14' to 16' 1 Front – two-lane highway
1 Rear - divided highway
Exceeding 16' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
Height Exceeding 17' 1 Front – equipped with height pole
Exceeding 18' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
1 Front - equipped with height pole
Length


Exceeding 110' to 125' 1 Front – two-lane highway
1 Rear - divided highway
Exceeding 125' 1 Front and 1 Rear – all roads
Front overhang exceeds 20' 1 Front - two-lane highway
1 Rear – four or more lane highway
Rear overhang exceeds 20' 1 Rear – all roads

If a load exceeds escort requirements in two dimensions, front and rear escorts are required. For example, if a load is 16-feet wide and 112-feet long, one escort is required for the width and one escort is required for the length. This rule does not apply if the two dimensions are length and overhang.

Convoy

Overlength loads may convoy and share escorts under the following conditions:

  • 110 feet to 150 feet long – Convoy up to four loads with one front and one rear escort
  • 150 feet, 1 inch to 180 feet long – Convoy two loads with one front and one rear escort


Each permitted load in the convoy must:

  • Travel at least 1,000 feet, but not more than 2,000 feet, from any other load in the convoy.
  • Have a rotating amber beacon or an amber pulsating light not less than eight inches in diameter mounted at the top, rear of the load.

Equipment

Escort vehicles are required to be a single unit with a gross vehicle weight of not less than 1,000 pounds and not more than 10,000 pounds. Escort vehicles must be equipped as follows:

Lights

An escort vehicle must have two flashing amber lights or one rotating amber beacon of not less than eight inches in diameter fixed to the roof of the escort vehicle. The light must be visible from all sides of the escort vehicle.

Signs

An escort vehicle must display a sign on either the roof of the vehicle or the front and/or rear of the vehicle with the words "OVERSIZE" or "WIDE LOAD." The sign must be:

  • Size – 5 to 7 feet in length, 12 to 18 inches in height
  • Color - yellow background with black lettering
  • Size of lettering – 8 to 10 inches high with a brush stroke at least 1.41 inches wide
  • Visibility - visible from the front and rear of the vehicle while escorting the permitted load
  • The sign must not be used at any other time.
Flags

Warning flags must be made of red or orange fluorescent material and at least 12-inches square. Flags should be securely mounted on a staff or securely fastened to at least one corner to the widest extremities of the overwidth vehicle and placed at the rear of an overlength vehicle or vehicle with a rear overhang in excess of four feet.

Radio

An escort vehicle must maintain two-way communications with the permitted vehicle and other escort vehicles involved with the movement of the permitted vehicle.

Height pole

Any permitted vehicle that exceeds 17-feet in height must have a front escort vehicle equipped with a height pole made of nonconductive metal to accurately measure overhead obstructions.

Special
Requirements

Manufactured housing and portable buildings have special escort requirements when moved under the provisions of permit types specific to these load types.

The number of required escorts and escort placement are as follows:

  • If the load exceeds 16 feet wide, but does not exceed 18-feet wide, one escort is required. If traveling on a two-lane highway, the escort must be in the front of the load. If traveling on a highway with four or more lanes, the escort must be in the rear.
  • If the load exceeds 18 feet wide, two escorts are required: one in the front and one in the rear.
  • Two manufactured homes or two sections of a multi-section manufactured home may be moved in a convoy and share the required escorts if the distance between the two units does not exceed 1,000 feet.
Lights

A manufactured house over 12 feet wide must have one rotating amber beacon not less than eight inches in diameter mounted somewhere on the roof at the rear of the manufactured house. Or, instead of a roof beacon, two five-inch flashing amber lights may be mounted approximately six feet from ground level at the rear corners of the manufactured house.

The towing vehicle is required to have one rotating amber beacon not less than eight inches in diameter mounted on the top of the cab. These beacons are to be operational and luminous during any permitted move over the highway.

Motorcycles

An official law enforcement motorcycle may be used as a primary escort vehicle for a permitted vehicle traveling within the limits of an incorporated city if a highway patrol officer, sheriff, duly authorized deputy or municipal police officer operates the motorcycle.

An escort motorcycle must maintain two-way radio communications with the permitted vehicle and other escort vehicles involved with the movement of the permitted vehicle.

Multi-State (WASHTO) Permit Conditions

The Multi-State Western Regional (WASHTO) Permit includes limitations such as curfew hours, restrictions, escort requirements, and other conditions that must accompany the permit.

  • Cancellation: When terms have been violated, obtained through misrepresentation, or the public interest served.
  • Convoy Movement: The convoy movement of two or more overdimensional vehicles is prohibited.
  • Crossing Structures in Montana: Configurations of 9 and 10 axles, 5 mph when crossing all structures.

Regional Conditions

Colorado Denver Area

During 6:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:00-6:00 p.m.

  • Interstate 25: between Interstate 225 and State Highway 128 (120th Avenue)
  • Interstate 70: between State Highway 72 (Ward Road) and I-225
  • Interstate 76: between Interstate 25 and US Highway 85
  • Interstate 225: between Interstate 25 and Interstate 70
  • Interstate 270: between Interstate 70 and Interstate 76
Colorado Springs Area

During 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m.

  • Interstate 25 (Academy Blvd N) between Interstate 25 north Jct. and State Hwy 83 (Academy Blvd S)
  • Interstate 25 (Nevada Ave) between Interstate 25 north Jct. and State Highway 83 (Academy Blvd)
Pueblo Area

During 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m.

  • Interstate 25 between Lake Ave (Exit 94) and the Jct. of State Highways 47 and 50 (Exit 101)
New Mexico

Configurations of 9 and 10 axles, 5 mph when crossing all structures.

Oklahoma

No oversize loads through Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties between 7-9am and 4-6:30pm, except Saturday and Sunday.

Texas

No permitted vehicles 7-9am and 4-6pm in Beaumont, Lubbock, San Antonio, Vidor and Tarrant County. No permitted vehicles 6-9am and 4-7pm in Houston.

No permitted vehicles over 12' wide or 95' long 7-9am and 4-6pm in Austin, Wichita Falls, Texarkana, El Paso and Dallas County; in Dallas 7-9am and 3-7pm on IH635 between IH30 and IH35E.

Utah

Travel is prohibited Monday through Friday during 6-9am and 3:30-6 p.m., in the following areas: South of Perry Exit # 360 (Box Elder County); all of Weber, Davis, and Salt Lake Counties; and north of the Springville Interchange # 265 (Utah County).

Washington

Overdimensional loads, or loads that are overweight only but cannot maintain traffic speed, are prohibited from specific sections of highway during commuter hours. The configurations are also prohibited after 3pm on Friday and after noon on Sunday on all highways and interstates.

Seattle - Everette Vicinity - during 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m.

  • Interstate 5: between TUKWILA Interchange (Jct. I-405)and MARYSVILLE (S.City limits)
  • Interstate 405: between TUKWILA Interchange (Jct. I-5) and EVERETT (Jct. I-5)
  • Interstate 90: between SEATTLE (Jct. I-5) and FACTORIA Interchange (Jct. I-405) Morning restriction on I-90 applies from 6:30-9:00 a.m.)
  • State Route 167: between Renton Interchange (Jct I-405) and Puyallup (Jct SR 512)
  • State Route 520: EVERGREEN POINT BRIDGE: between Jct. I-5 and Jct. I-405

Tacoma Vicinity - during 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m.

  • Interstate 5: between KING - PIERCE COUNTY LINE and FORT LEWIS EXIT

Olympia Vicinity - during 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m.

  • Interstate 5: between Lacey (Exit 109) and Tumwater (S City Limits Exit 99)

Vancouver Vicinity - during 6:30-8:30 a.m. southbound & 4:00-6:00 p.m. northbound

  • Interstate 5: between Vancouver (139th Street) and Vancouver-Portland Bridge

Kennewick Vicinity - at all times for through traffic

  • State Route 395: (Applies to loads wider than 10 feet) between Jct. with I-82 and Jct. with I-182.

Permit Restriction
Guidelines

Impaired Clearance

Carrier is responsible for determining adequate clearance, both vertical and horizontal. Pilot vehicles will be required to control traffic when two-way traffic can not be maintained through structure.

Overhang

Allow 3 ft. front overhang and 20 ft. rear overhang (escort required in AZ and WA at 20 ft.). In AZ if over 10 ft. rear overhang, daylight travel on Mon. through Fri. only

Pilot Vehicles

Pilot vehicles may be an automobile, pickup or solo truck (not exceeding 20,000 lbs. GVW in AZ) of legal size and weight. Combinations of vehicles are not authorized. See table.

Pilot Vehicle Operator Duties
Pilot vehicle operators shall warn approaching/overtaking traffic about the permitted load by approved signaling devices or flags and signs. Pilot vehicles shall maintain a distance ahead or behind load on rural highways per individual state requirements. In cities/ congested areas with traffic signals, the distance shall be reduced as required to protect the traveling public. Operators must be properly licensed.

Projecting Load Provision for Arizona

Loads which project from the side of hauling equipment will be limited to a maximum of 3 ft. of projection on either side of the hauling equipment, except loads of less than 12 in. thickness above the bed of the hauling equipment which will be limited to 2 ft. of projection.

Rear-View Mirrors

Vehicles or overdimensional loads must be equipped with rear-view mirrors providing the operator a view to the rear of the vehicle and/or combination of vehicles. Such mirrors may exceed width authorized herein by 5 in. on either side, but must be retracted to legal width when vehicle(s) is of legal width.

Refund Policy

No refund, credit or substitution of a Western Regional Permit fee is allowed after issuance.

Road/Weather

Movement not permitted when roads are hazardous due to ice, snow or frost or visibility is less than 500 ft. (1,000 ft. in WA and TX) due to fog, smoke or other conditions, if the width is in excess of 8 ft., 6 in. or if the overall length is in excess of 80 ft., except Arizona where the restriction applies to all movement under permit and Idaho where the carrier makes the determination, however, law enforcement may restrict travel. In Oregon movement by permit is prohibited when the following signs are displayed: "Approved Snow Tires Recommended", "Snow Tires Advised", "Approved Snow Tires Required", or "Tire Chains Required" (In WA substitute "Traction Devices" for "Snow Tires").

Speed Limits

Permitted loads may move at posted speed limits, except NM - the lesser of posted or 65 mph.

Travel Restrictions

Hours and days (excluding holidays), please see table below.

Travel Restrictions: Holidays

Movement is prohibited on New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (except TX - no restrictions for envelope vehicle, and CO - no restrictions on New Years, Thanksgiving or Christmas, CO and MT- if any of the six holidays fall on Saturday the preceding Friday is restricted and if they fall on Sunday the following Monday is restricted). In OR movement is prohibited from noon on the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving until daylight on Monday. In AZ, OK and WA prohibited from noon ( 2:00pm. in UT) on a day preceding a holiday (all day Christmas Eve in OK) until daylight of the day after the holiday. For ID, if a load is over 10 ft. wide, 100 ft. long or 14 ft. 6 in. high may not travel after 4:00pm on the day preceding a holiday, travel may resume at dawn on the day following the holiday. In UT and OR no travel is permitted from 2:00pm (4:00pm in OR) on Thursday to daylight on Monday when the holiday is observed on Friday, or from 2:00pm (4:00pm in OR) on Friday to daylight on Tuesday when the holiday is observed on Monday (also Saturday and Sunday in OR). The UT Department of Transportation may also prohibit movements on other days with high traffic volumes, i.e. beginning of hunting season and July 24 (State holiday).

Turnpikes- Oklahoma

Will Rogers and Turner Turnpikes, max width 10 ft. cash customer and 12 ft. for Pike Pass holders. H.E. Bailey Turnpike, max width 12 ft. cash customers (outer toll booths only) and Pike Pass holders.

Two-Way Radio

Both towing unit and escort vehicles shall be equipped with two-way radio, licensed under FCC regulations, continuously monitored, and able to provide reliable voice communication between drivers at all times.

Warning Signs/Lights/Flags

Pilot vehicles shall display "OVERSIZE LOAD" signs, 5 ft. wide by 10 in. high with black lettering 8 in. high with 1 in. brush stroke on a solid highway yellow background. Oversize loads and/or towing/hauling vehicles shall display "OVERSIZE LOAD" signs, 7 ft. wide by 18 in. high with black lettering 10 in. high with 1-5/8 in. brush stroke on a solid highway yellow background. Signs shall be displayed only during the the movement of the oversize load and shall be removed or retracted all other times. Loads over 10 ft. wide require flashing lights in Montana. Oklahoma requires 16 inch red flags to mark widest points on overwidth loads and rear overhangs exceeding 4 feet. Travel after dark, where allowed, requires amber lights on all extremities. On overlength loads red lights are required at the rear extremities and must be visible at 500 ft.

Escort
Vehicles Required

Size AZ CO ID MT NM OK OR UT TX WA
10 feet wide or less 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
100 feet long or less 0  0 0-d  0-e  1-b 0 0
Over 10 feet wide on Interstate 0 0-b 0 0
Over 10 feet but not over 11 feet wide on two-lane highways N/A 0-b  0 0
Over 11 feet but not over 12 feet wide on two-lane highways N/A 0-b  0 2
Over 12 feet wide on two-lane highways 2 1-g  1-a 1-g  0-b  0 2
Over 100 feet long on Interstates 0 1-b  0 0
Over 100 feet long on two-lane highways 0 1-f  0-c  2-e  1-b  0 1

a - In Idaho, loads exceeding 12 ft. wide and 100 ft. long require two pilot cars.
b - One pilot car when length exceeds 95 ft. or length exceeds 90 ft. and width exceeds 13 ft. Two pilot cars when length exceeds 105 ft., may also require two pilot cars for certain two lane off-route approvals. One pilot car when width exceeds 12 ft. on I-15 between 10600 South, SLC to 400 North (Parish Lane), Centerville, and all of I-215.
c - One pilot car is required when length exceeds 105 ft.
d - In excess of 90' long.
e - One escort in front on two-lane highway when load exceeds 80 feet.
f - On I-70 from Glennwood Springs to Gypsum.
g - In Colorado over 13' wide. In Montana over 12' 6" wide.

Travel Restrictions

Permit TX UT WA
Overweight only 24 hours/day 24 hours/day 24 hours/day except b
 10 feet wide or less on Interstates Daylight 24 hours/day
24 hours/day except b
10 feet wide or less - two-lane highways  Daylight 24 hours/day 24 hours/day except b
100 feet long or less on Interstates  Daylight Daylight or 24 hours (92 inches or <) 24 hours/day except b 
100 feet long or less on two-land highways  Daylight Daylight 24 hours/day except b 
Over 10 feet wide on Interstates  Daylight Daylight Daylight except b
Over 10 feet wide on two-lane highways  Daylight Daylight Daylight except b
Over 100 feet long on Interstate highways Daylight Daylight or 24 hours (92 inches or <) Daylight except b
 Over 100 feet long on two-lane highways Daylight except b    
a - Movement prohibited on Saturday after noon and all daylight hours on Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day

b - See curfew hours for major Washington cities

c - 80 feet long or less

(Daylight is defined as one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset)

Railroad-Crossing Safety

 7 Steps for Safety Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

  1. Approach with care.
    Warn others that you are slowing down. Turn on 4-way flashers. Use pull-out lane if available.

  2. Prepare to stop.
    Turn off fans and radio and roll down windows. Locate your cell phone for use in emergency.

    Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from nearest rail.

  3. Look and listen both ways, carefully.
    Bend forward to see around mirrors and A-pillars.

  4. If it won't fit, don't commit.
    Do not enter a crossing unless you can drive completely through without stopping!

    And, remember, trains are wider than the track. Before you pull onto the track, make sure there is enough room on the other side for the back of your vehicle (and any overhanging cargo) to be at least 3 feet beyond the furthest rail.

  5. Look again.
    Before you move, look again in both directions.

  6. Cross tracks with care.
    Signal, watch for a safe gap, pull back onto the road if you used a pull-out lane. Use highest gear that will let you cross without shifting.

  7. Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.

 

What to do if your vehicle stalls or hangs up on the tracks

  1. GET OUT IMMEDIATELY
    Evacuate your vehicle. (Trains traveling at 60 mph may take a mile or more to stop.)

  2. Move away.
    Walk toward the oncoming train, and away from the tracks at a 45-degree angle. (If your vehicle is hit, debris will spread out from the tracks in the same direction the train is moving.)

  3. Locate the emergency phone number.
    When you are safely away from the tracks, find the railroad's emergency phone number and the DOT crossing identification number posted near the crossing. (See sample locations below.)

    Railroad identification, emergency phone numbers, and DOT number locations.
  4. Call for help!
    Call the railroad's emergency phone number, the local police, or 911. Tell them a vehicle is on the tracks. Provide the location, crossing number (if posted), and the name of the road or highway.

 

 

icon important Railroads' Emergency Phone Numbers

Railroad Emergency Phone Number
Amtrack 1-800-331-0008
BNSF Railway 1-800-832-5452
CSX 1-800-232-0144
Canadian National 1-800-465-9239
Canadian Pacific 1-800-716-9132
Kansas City Southern 1-877-527-9464 or 1-800-892-6295
Norfolk Southern 1-800-453-2530
Union Pacific 1-888-877-7267

Call the local police or 911 if you cannot locate the railroad emergency phone number at the site.

For more information on railroad safety, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov

FMCSA Railroad Crossing Safety Brochure

 

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