Superload Haulers & Oversize Transport via Bucket Truck Escort

Superload Haulers Escorted by Bucket Trucks

Compared to legal loads, oversized and superloads are difficult to transport. The good news is that these non-divisible bigger loads can be transported by superload haulers safely.

Bucket truck escorts are a viable way to enhance safety for said transportation of oversized and super loads. But, these escorts must still uphold regulations of their own.  

This post will cover the regulations you and your transport company will need to successfully move oversized and superloads via bucket truck escort. 

Classifying Oversized and Superloads 

Before diving into bucket truck escort regulations —- let’s make sure that your equipment/cargo is actually oversized or a super load. If your load fits into “legal” dimensions, you’ll be able to transport it without additional permits or an escort like bucket trucks. 


Oversized loads are any load that exceeds the federal and/or state specified maximum legal width, height, and/or length permitted on loads. The width regulation is uniform in the states. Loads exceeding 8.5 feet in width on major highways, or over 8 feet on secondary roads, are considered oversized loads. For height, the maximum ranges between 13.5 to 14.5 feet — with the measurement starting from the ground up. For length, the maximum ranges between 48 to 53 feet. 

Make sure to check the state regulations of each state that your equipment will pass through. Your cargo may be labeled legal in some states, but oversized in others. 

Superload Shipping

Superload haulers move loads that have dimensions that are bigger than oversized loads. Loads, in most states, that are more than 16 feet wide, 16 feet tall, and/or 160 feet long are considered superloads. Again — like oversized loads— your cargo may be labeled oversized in some states, but a superload in others.  

These loads require several additional permits and procedures when compared to oversized loads before transportation can occur. Bucket truck escorts among other procedures are most commonly used for superloads. Make sure to obtain the appropriate licenses and procedures to meet compliance standards. 

Route Regulations for Oversized & Superload Haulers

Any load that exceeds 12.5 feet in height may be restricted to routes without bridge overpasses. Again, it is not definite since state regulations vary. Alternative routes will need to be planned prior to starting the transportation process.  

Loads that are taller than 16 feet — which are for superload haulers — will have to avoid most routes. Not only will they need to avoid routes with overpasses, but routes with overhead signs, traffic lights, utility wires, and so forth. 

Loads that are wider than 16 feet — also superloads — will need to be wary of sidewalk traffic signals, overhead signs, and more. It is important that the transport driver is experienced so that they can make safe turns without causing trouble. 

How Bucket Truck Escorts Can Help Your Superload Transport

As you might recall, superload shipping has a habit of damaging overhead signs, utility wires, and traffic signals.  

That’s where bucket trucks and their operators come into play. 

Bucket truck escorts will lead the way for the transportation truck. They lift wires and overhead traffic signals and remove (and then later replace) overhead signs. 

Before transport, superloads (and sometimes oversized loads) will require an initial route survey. If the survey identifies overhead obstructions and potential problems, provisions will need to be made to prevent damage. Provisions may include raising obstructions, and/or temporarily removing obstructions on the route path. 

Bucket Truck Escort Services for Superload Shipping

Like with transportation companies, bucket truck escort services will provide more than just completing the physical task. Here’s what a quality bucket truck escort service offers. 

Logistics and Planning 

Bucket truck escorts will often assist to find the best routes for your load — with an emphasis on routes with the fewest overhead obstructions. The escort team will also communicate back and forth with the actual transportation team before and during the live transport. Finding the best day and time to conduct the transportation will also be planned out. 


PVC piping may be attached over the top of a superload so that non-removable hanging objects and your cargo won’t scratch each other. The PVC piping helps the hanging object or structure skid safely over the load as the truck passes underneath. 

Escorting of Superload Haulers

As mentioned earlier, the main responsibility of bucket truck escorts is to remove and raise objects that would otherwise be damaged by your superload.  

  • Raising, skidding, or removing utility wiring 
  • Raising or removing and reinstalling overhead traffic signals 
  • Removing and reinstalling signs and other constructions 
  • Serving as flagmen for truck drivers 
  • Providing light and additional guidance during nighttime 

Coordinate with Authorities 

Sometimes, a bucket truck escort will need to coordinate with highway authorities and utility companies. This is because removing utility wires, traffic control signals, and signs may cause problems for the general public. Coordinating with authorities will most often occur in peak traffic areas and/or if transportation occurs mid-day. 

Choosing The Best Bucket Truck Escort Service 

The function of a bucket truck escort is to reduce potential harm to cargo, the driver, and the general public. But, not all bucket truck escorts are created equal. Here are important considerations to take into account when choosing the best escort service. 

Proper Training  

How experienced is the bucket truck escort service and each driver? Besides driving properly, drivers must be trained to adequately lift live overhead wires, and raise or remove traffic signals and overhead signs.  

In certain circumstances, bucket truck escorts will also need to 

remove and replace roadside signs, spotlights, poles, and other things along the route. Part of training involves being able to use various tools to handle the electrical wires and other objects on route. 

Having Various Sized Escorts 

Does the bucket truck escort service have multiple trucks? 

This is not applicable for all loads, but equally important to consider. For wider superload shipping, it becomes necessary to lift overhead wires at multiple points. This requires a team of bucket trucks to lift the wires. Choose a service that offers a variety of bucket trucks so that your transport challenges can be more adequately handled. 

Certifications and Licenses 

Does each driver in the company hold certifications and licenses necessary in their respective state? Bucket trucks have boom lifts. Operating boom lifts require certifications and licenses of their own. 

Besides the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) guidelines, there aren’t any uniform national requirements for boom lifts. Certain states only rely on OSHA standards. Some states require certification and licenses. Some states go further to have their own safety and health programs that apply to operators. As you can see, every state is different when it comes to certifications and licenses.  

At a bare minimum, ensure that each driver holds an OSHA Certified Operator card. This is proof that the driver has completed OSHA-approved training and can operate boom lifts which are essential to being a proper escort. Most services will require their drivers to submit proof of their OSHA Certified Operator card before working. 

To avoid hold-ups or trouble mid-transport, make sure drivers hold additional certificates and licenses if necessary in their respective states. This should be mentioned on the company website, but you can always contact the company too.  

Author: Justin Tyme
Justin Tyme is a seasoned marketing expert with a focus on the supply chain, logistics, and heavy machinery transportation sectors. He serves as the Senior Director of Marketing at Titan Worldwide, where he manages the company's content marketing strategy and lead generation. You can connect with Justin via his email.
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