2018 Advocacy Victory

Defining “Nondivisible” Load

In a victory for both transportation and crane members, SC&RA worked tirelessly and successfully to petition the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to clarify a long-standing definition of “nondivisible load” that has been interpreted very differently between states and even within various jurisdictions within states.

In response to a request from SC&RA, FHWA formally responded in a letter dated April 12, 2018: "As you (SC&RA) assert, the word, ‘or’ at the end of (II) means that a load that meets any one or more of the three definitions shall be considered nondivisible. States are required to use the federal definition only when considering whether to issue a nondivisible load permit allowing an overweight vehicle or load to operate on the Interstate System and roads providing reasonable access to and from the interstate.”

The Federal Definition 23 CFR 658.5 – Nondivisible means any load or vehicle exceeding applicable length or weight limits which, if separated into smaller loads or vehicles, would: (i) Compromise the intended use of the vehicle; i.e., make it unable to perform the function for which it was intended (ii) Destroy the value of the load or vehicle; i.e., make it unusable for its intended purpose or (iii) Require more than eight workhours to dismantle using appropriate equipment.

For decades, several states have, particularly with respect to extra equipment on mobile cranes, hung their hat exclusively on (iii) where, of course, removal of counterweights, etc., typically takes far less than eight workhours to dismantle. With this new clarification, FHWA asserts that loads may still be defined as “nondivisible” if the removal of the objects will make it (the load) unable to perform the function and/or unusable for which it was intended.

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