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Legal protection for commerce: Most truck ban requests arise from noise complaints. However, overland trucking is the primary means of moving goods in the United States. Commerce and trade have state and federal legal protection; therefore, restriction of commerce is difficult. It requires substantial supporting evidence such as accident data and a reasonable alternate route.
Height: Truck height is limited to 14 feet. For more information, see Height & Low Clearance.
Width: Truck width is iimited to 8.5 feet. For more information, see Vehicle Widths.
Length - Single Unit: The basic length limit for all single unit vehicles is 40 feet; however, length exceptions are given for buses and motorhomes up to 45 feet on certain routes (see 45' Buses and 45' Motorhomes).
Length - Combinations: Combination vehicles coupled together, such as a truck tractor and semitrailer, or a truck tractor, semitrailer and trailer, are limited to 65 feet, or 75 feet, or may be unlimited depending on the route. In addition, legal trucks in California must not exceed a kingpin-to-rear-axle (KPRA) length of 40 feet. See Quick Guide: Truck Lengths & Routes.
Weight: The maximum overall weight limit is 80,000 pounds. The CVC also specifies maximum axle weight limits as well. Generally, the maximum allowable weights are 20,000 pounds on single axles and 34,000 pounds on tandem axles equipped with the proper tire weight capacity ratings. For weight requirements, see Truck Weight.
CURRENT STATE ROUTE RESTRICTIONS
Current restrictions: There are approximately 20 State route segments with specific truck restrictions, including number of axles, gross weight, length, and cargo type (e.g. flammables, explosives, radioactive materials). See State route restrictions at Special Route Restrictions, which includes links to the histories of some restrictions.
State authority: Streets & Highways Code (SHC) Section 124. The department may restrict the use of, or close, any State
highway whenever the department considers such closing or restriction
of use necessary:
(a) For the protection of the public.
(b) For the protection of such highway from damage during storms
or during construction, improvement or maintenance operations
SHC 125. To notify the public that a state highway is closed or its use
restricted, the department may:
(a) Erect suitable barriers or obstructions upon such highway.
(b) Post warnings and notices of the condition of any such
(c) Post signs for the direction of traffic upon it, or to or upon
any other highway or detour open to public travel.
(d) Place warning devices on such highway.
(e) Assign a flagman to warn, detour or direct traffic on such
CVC 21370. The Department of Transportation, ..., while engaged in
the construction of a state highway ... may restrict
the use of and regulate the movement of traffic upon any highway
intersecting the project at or near the place of intersection
whenever such work interferes with or endangers the safe movement of
traffic through the work.
Legal basis for the restriction process: CVC Section 21101 allows the restriction of certain vehicles, by stating that, "Local authorities...may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution... (c) Prohibiting the use of particular highways by certain vehicles..." CVC Section 21104 further states "...an ordinance or resolution which is submitted to the Department of Transportation...in complete draft form for approval...is effective as to any state highway..."
Legal basis for the Department varying weight limits: Section 35650 states that the Department of Transportation may fix a weight limit greater than the maximum on State routes. Section 35651 states that the Department may fix a weight limit less than the maximum. Sections 35652 and 35653 describe the public hearing required. Section 35654 requires signs posted. Section 35655 describes fines for violations. Section 35655.5 declares the 4.5-ton limit on Interstate 580 (see chart above).
Legal basis for local authorities varying weight limits or restricting vehicles: Section 35700 states that local authorities may fix a weight limit greater than the maximum on local roads. Section 35700.5 discusses weight limits for international containers greater than the maximum allowed, by permit, on portions of Routes 1, 47 and 103 in the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The following CVC sections also cover local authorities:
Legal basis for restricting KPRA to 38 feet: Caltrans and/or local governments may restrict the kingpin-to-rear-axle (KPRA) distance on a truck tractor-semitrailer on those routes under their jurisdiction, but may not restrict KPRA to less than 38 feet. For local route KPRA restrictions, see CVC Section 35401(e). For State route KPRA restrictions, see CVC Section 35401(f). The State route KPRA restriction requires a public hearing that complies with CVC Chapter 5, Article 3, commencing with Section 35650.
Legal basis for restrictions on crossings: Section 23334 authorizes Caltrans to restrict traffic on vehicular crossings by stating, "The Department of Transportation may adopt rules and regulations...for the control of traffic on any vehicular crossing to aid and insure the safe and orderly flow of traffic, and shall, so far as practicable, notify the public of the rules and regulations by signs on the vehicular crossing." Section 23330 states that "Except where a special permit has been obtained...none of the following shall be permitted on any vehicular crossing:...(d) Vehicles carrying items prohibited by regulations promulgated by the Department of Transportation.
Crossings in the CVC: The Caldecott Tunnel, which connects Oakland with Contra Costa County; is restricted by CVC Section 31301, which states that, "(a) No person shall transport any explosive substance, flammable liquid, liquefied petroleum gas or poisonous gas in a tank truck, trailer, or semitrailer through the Caldecott Tunnel...Route 24...at any time other than between the hours of 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
"Vehicular crossing": Section 23254 defines "vehicular crossing" as "any toll bridge or toll highway crossing and the approaches thereto, constructed or acquired by the Department of Transportation under the provisions of the California Toll Bridge Authority Act."
Other restrictions in the CVC: Route 85. Section 35722 states that, "...the County of Santa Clara may, after a public hearing, adopt a proposed ordinance imposing a maximum gross truck weight limit of 9,000 pounds on Route 85...and submit the proposed ordinance to the Department of Transportation for approval. If the proposed ordinance is approved...the Department shall post appropriate signs..."
On-Line CVC: CVC Online.
NATIONAL NETWORK ROUTE RESTRICTIONS (bolding in quotes added)
Federal law: The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 23, Section 658.11 covers requirements for additions, deletions, and restrictions on the National Network.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): Requests for restrictions on the National Network must be submitted in writing to the appropriate FHWA Division Office.
CFR -- Federal approval: The Section 658.11(d) states: "Deletions and use restrictions--Federal-aid interstate. (1) The
deletion of, or imposition of use restrictions on, any specific segment
of the Interstate Highway System on the National Network, except as
otherwise provided in this part, must be approved by the FHWA. Such
action will be initiated ... on the request
of the Governor or the Governor's authorized representative of the State
in which the Interstate segment is located. Requests from the Governor
or the Governor's authorized representative shall be submitted along
with justification for the deletion or restriction, in writing, to the
appropriate FHWA Division Office for transmittal to Washington
CFR -- Justification: The Section 658.11(d)(2) states: "The justification accompanying a request shall be based on the
(i) Analysis of evidence of safety problems supporting the deletion
or restriction as identified in Sec. 658.11(c).
(ii) Analysis of the impact on interstate commerce.
(iii) Analysis and recommendation of any alternative routes that can
safely accommodate commercial motor vehicles of the dimensions and
configurations described in Sec. Sec. 658.13 and 658.15 and serve the
area in which such segment is located.
(iv) Evidence of consultation with the local governments in which
the segment is located as well as the Governor or the Governor's
authorized representative of any adjacent State that might be directly
affected by such a deletion or restriction."
National Network routes: To determine whether the route is National Network, open the Truck Route List, find the route number and route segment, and look for the NN in the Column titled "Desig" (for "Designation").
PEAK-HOUR TRUCK RESTRICTIONS
Peak-hour truck restrictions: California does not currently have any truck restrictions during certain hours. State and federal law forbids highway restrictions to truck access except for "safety and engineering" reasons. There is no mention in the law of time limitations. However, a peak-hour truck restriction would hinder trucks from making deliveries and would probably, therefore, be considered a restriction under the law. In order to enact a time restriction, it would seem necessary to validate a safety issue by traffic study.
Studies of peak-hour restrictions: The California Legislature commissioned the "Urban Freeway Gridlock Study," dated 1988, to investigate the impact of large trucks on peak-period freeway congestion, and explore management techniques to reduce congestion. The study focused on freeways in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego metropolitan areas. The study's conclusions were that a peak-period truck ban would not provide significant relief from peak-period congestion, and that a peak-period ban is unlikely due to prvisions of the federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) and subsequent court decisions.
TRUCK RESTRICTION PROCESS
The following suggested procedures are in accordance with the following CVC Sections: 21101(c) to prohibit "certain vehicles" on local routes and 21104 to prohibit "certain vehicles" on State routes; 35701 to prohibit vehicles by weight on local routes, and 35702 to prohibit vehicles by weight on State routes. (These steps below do not apply to KPRA restrictions, which must follow the guidance in the CVC sections linked above under the subtitle: "Legal basis for restricting KPRA to 38 feet.")
TRUCK RESTRICTION REPORT CHECKLIST
Approval of restriction requests is contingent upon a complete identification and documentation of impacts on highway safety, structural integrity, environment and operational efficiency. Some items may not apply. This checklist is a guide only.
II. PROPOSAL STATEMENT
_____ The proposed restriction and references to specific codes, regulations and any local ordinances or resolutions are clearly presented in the proposal statement. If exemptions to general rules apply; cite appropriate statutory law or regulations.
III. JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROPOSAL
_____ Analyses of present and future safety, operational (capacity, geometrics) and/or structural adequacy supporting the restriction. A description of existing versus proposed conditions. Include supporting data tables, maps and/or photographs.
_____ List of alternatives considered, e.g. truck advisory, restriction of 39-foot vehicles, or restriction of all trucks over a certain gross weight. Statement of the proposed restriction selected.
_____ Analysis of environmental considerations for the restriction proposal with an explanation of impacts and mitigation measures.
_____ Existing and future land use plans.
_____ Analysis of the impact on interstate and intrastate commerce. Analysis of the economic impact on communities, shippers and trucking companies due to increased travel distances.
_____ Analysis and recommendations of any alternative routes that can safely accommodate any California legal commercial motor vehicles and serve the proposed restriction area.
_____ Evidence of consultation with the local or adjoining state governments affected by the proposed restriction.
_____ Results of any public hearings.
_____ Copies of any draft local restriction ordinances or resolutions.
_____ Copies of any supportive correspondence or documents for the restriction.
_____ Minutes of public hearings (audio or videocassette tape).