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Abnormal loads in South Africa

In special circumstances, where vehicle or load exceeds the regulated maximum weights and dimensions, the relevant Provincial Administration may issue a permit authorising it to operate for a specified period on a public road.

Extensive stipulations governing these vehicles are contained in TRH11, a document which has now been split into the following parts:

Dimensional and Mass Limitations (474 KB)

Administrative Guidelines (471 KB)

Except in special circumstances, permits will only be granted for indivisible loads (ie loads which cannot, without disproportionate effort, cost or risk of damage, be divided into two or more loads). Also a permit is not usually granted if a load can be legally transported on another vehicle which complies with the regulations. For example, a permit will not be granted for a ten tonne load on a two-axled truck because this load could be transported legally on a three-axled truck or an articulated vehicle.

Warning signs
A permit exempting a vehicle from compliance with normal load and dimension regulations may call for one or more of the following warnings to be displayed, depending on the degree of abnormality.

Flags (600 mm x 600 mm) to identify extremities

Abnormal warning board at front and rear (mobile cranes only need one at the rear) at least 2 metres wide and 300 mm high with red retro-reflective letters on a white background. Specifications are to be found in SANS 1328:2.

Amber flashing light on top of the cab (mobile cranes need one at the front overhang and two at the rear).

Marker lamps and reflectors to demarcate extremities

Speed restriction board (400 mm diameter) at the rear above the warning board to be fitted whenever the vehicle is limited to 60 km/h or less.

Escort vehicles with amber flashing lights and warning signs fitted to the roof may also be called for. The signs must be removable or collapsible and must not obscure the lights.

Embargo periods
There is a general embargo on abnormal load transport during weekends. There are also ebargoes during public holidays and special events. Each province determines appropriate embargo periods to accommodate these dates.

Abnormal load embargo dates for Eastern Cape (2014) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Free State (2020) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Gauteng (2019) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for KwaZulu Natal (2021) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Limpopo (2017) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Mpumalanga (2013) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Northern Cape (2020) >

Abnormal load embargo dates for Western Cape (2018) >


Abnormal load permit fees>

For further information, visit the Abnormal Loads website>