Tennessee Oversize Permits

Transporting oversize and overweight loads in Tennessee requires compliance with specific regulations designed to protect public safety and infrastructure. These permits are essential for vehicles that exceed the standard legal dimensions and weight limits. Understanding the process and requirements for obtaining these permits is crucial for companies and individuals involved in the transportation of large loads. In this article, you will learn about Tennessee Oversize Permits.

Legal Limits for Tennessee Oversize Permits

Size and Weight Restrictions

In Tennessee, the legal limits for vehicle dimensions are stringent. The maximum allowable dimensions without a permit are 80,000 pounds for gross weight, 53 feet in length, 13.5 feet in height, and 8.5 feet in width. Vehicles exceeding these dimensions are classified as oversize or overweight and require a special permit for operation on state roads. These regulations are in place to prevent damage to road infrastructure and ensure safe travel for all road users.

Conditions Requiring a Permit

Permits are required for any vehicle or load that exceeds the specified legal limits. This includes not only the overall dimensions but also the distribution of weight across axles. For example, a vehicle with a single axle weight exceeding 20,000 pounds or a tandem axle weight over 34,000 pounds would need a permit. It is essential to understand these conditions to determine when a permit is necessary.

Types of Permits

Single Trip Permits

Single trip permits are issued for one-time movements of oversize or overweight loads. These permits are typically processed within three business days and are valid for a specific route and duration. This type of permit is suitable for infrequent or one-time transport needs.

Annual Permits

Annual permits are designed for companies that regularly transport oversize or overweight loads. These permits allow for multiple trips over the course of a year, providing greater flexibility and convenience. The annual permit process also includes the possibility of amendments to accommodate changes in load or vehicle configurations.

Superload Permits

Superload permits are required for exceptionally large or heavy loads that exceed standard oversize limits. These permits involve a more detailed application process and may take longer to approve, often up to 30 days for extremely heavy loads. The criteria for superloads include vehicles or loads exceeding 250,000 pounds.

Application Process

Obtaining a Tennessee oversize or overweight permit involves several steps to ensure compliance with state regulations.

Using the TNTRIPS System

The TNTRIPS system is the primary online platform for submitting permit applications. Applicants must create an account in this system, which is necessary for managing and tracking permit requests. The system streamlines the application process and provides real-time updates on permit status.

Registering for an Account

To use the TNTRIPS system, individuals or companies must first register for an account. This involves providing necessary details about the business and the types of loads typically transported. Registration is a one-time process that facilitates easier permit applications in the future.

Submitting Permit Applications

Once registered, users can submit permit applications through the TNTRIPS system. Each application requires detailed information about the vehicle, load dimensions, and proposed travel route. Accurate and complete information is crucial to avoid delays in processing.

Utilizing Third-Party Services

For those who may find the online application process challenging, third-party permit services are available. These services can handle the application process on behalf of the transporter, ensuring that all necessary documentation and details are correctly submitted.

Operational Guidelines

There are specific guidelines and restrictions that must be followed when operating a vehicle with an oversize or overweight permit in Tennessee.

Travel Times and Restrictions

Vehicles with oversize permits are generally allowed to travel from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. There is no travel allowed on Sundays and major holidays. These restrictions help manage road congestion and ensure safety during peak travel times.

Curfews in Specific Counties

Certain counties, including Davidson, Rutherford, Knox, Shelby, and Hamilton, have additional curfews during rush hours. For instance, travel is restricted from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. These curfews are in place to reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety during busy periods.

Holiday Travel Restrictions

Special restrictions apply to traveling on holidays with oversize loads. These restrictions vary and are typically communicated well in advance to permit holders. It is essential to plan trips around these restrictions to avoid penalties and delays.

Permit Amendments

Conditions for Amendments

Permits can be amended under certain conditions, such as changes in load dimensions or vehicle specifications. Amendments are allowed one time within 72 hours of the permit issuance for single trip permits. For annual permits, amendments must be processed through the TNTRIPS system.

Process for Amending Permits

To amend a permit, applicants must submit a formal request through the TNTRIPS system or contact the TDOT Permit Office. The request should include the original permit details and the changes needed. Amendments are typically processed within 24 hours, depending on the complexity of the changes.

Axle Weight Limits

Single Axle Limits

The single axle weight limit in Tennessee is 20,000 pounds. Vehicles exceeding this limit on any single axle must obtain a permit to operate legally on state roads.

Tandem Axle Limits

The tandem axle limit is set at 34,000 pounds. Similar to single axle limits, exceeding this weight requires a special permit.

Gross Vehicle Weight Limits

The gross vehicle weight limit is 80,000 pounds. Any vehicle or combination of vehicles exceeding this limit must secure a permit before traveling on Tennessee roadways.

Payment and Fees

Accepted Payment Methods

The TDOT Permit Office accepts several payment methods, including credit cards, escrow accounts, and checks. It is important to ensure that payments are made promptly to avoid delays in permit processing.

Fee Structure for Permits

The fees for permits vary based on the type of permit and the specifics of the load. Single trip permits and annual permits have different fee structures, and additional fees may apply for amendments or special processing.

Setting Up an Escrow Account

For frequent permit users, setting up an escrow account with the TDOT Permit Office can streamline the payment process. The minimum balance to open an escrow account is $1,000.00, and it typically takes several weeks to complete the setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Permit Processing Times

Regular single trip permits are usually processed within three days, while superload permits can take up to 30 days, depending on the load’s weight and complexity.

Requirements for Escorted Loads

Certain oversize loads require escort vehicles for safety. These requirements depend on the load dimensions and travel route. Escorts help manage traffic and ensure safe passage through challenging areas.

Handling Permit Rejections

If a permit application is rejected, the applicant can revise and resubmit the necessary information. Common reasons for rejection include incomplete applications or inaccurate load descriptions.

Permit Validity and Extensions

Permits are valid for a specific duration and route. Extensions are generally not allowed, so it is important to plan travel within the permit’s validity period.

Steps for Permit Cancellation

Permits can be canceled before the start of the journey. However, refunds are not typically issued, and applicants must submit a formal cancellation request to the TDOT Permit Office.

Compliance and Safety

Safety Requirements for Oversize Loads

Transporters must adhere to specific safety requirements, including proper signage, lighting, and escort vehicles where necessary. These measures are critical to preventing accidents and ensuring safe transport.

Compliance with State Regulations

Strict adherence to state regulations is mandatory for all oversize and overweight transport activities. Compliance helps avoid fines, delays, and potential legal issues.

Additional Resources

Contact Information for TDOT

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Oversize & Overweight Permit Office can be contacted for any permit-related inquiries. Their office is located at James K Polk Building, Suite 800, 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243. Phone: (615) 741-3821. Email: TDOT.PermitOffice@tn.gov.

Useful Online Tools and Links

Additional resources, including the TNTRIPS application and various guidelines, are available online. These tools provide valuable information for managing and applying for oversize permits.


Summary of Key Points

Navigating the requirements for oversize and overweight permits in Tennessee involves understanding legal limits, applying for the correct permits, and adhering to operational guidelines. Ensuring compliance is vital for safe and efficient transport.

Importance of Adhering to Permit Regulations

Strict compliance with permit regulations protects road infrastructure, ensures public safety, and facilitates smooth transport operations. It is essential for all transporters to stay informed and follow the established procedures for obtaining and using oversize permits.

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