ADVISORY

To: Head of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: October 6, 1999
Re: Fire Apparatus That May Exceed Legal Weight or Length Restrictions for Motor Vehicles

The Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts in conjunction with the Department of Fire Services has been working with the Massachusetts Highway Department to address the problem of overweight and/or overlength fire apparatus.

Certain fire apparatus may exceed limits of MGL c. 90 s. 19A for operation on the roadways. I have attached a copy of the relevant portions of this law for your convenience.

See the attached product literature. If you have any questions please contact our office.

The Massachusetts Highway Department intends on establishing a special permitting process for such apparatus on a case by case basis. If you believe that your department has a piece of equipment that may exceed the subject weight or length restrictions, you should forward the following information to: Gordon A. Broz, P.E., Deputy Chief Engineer, Highway Operations, Massachusetts Highway Department, Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116-3973:

  • Vehicle location and description (Manufacturer, plans and specifications, if available)
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Overall dimensions
  • Gross weight
  • Number of axles
  • Axle weights
  • Axle spacing

If you need further information you may contact Mr. Broz at (617) 973-7740 or my office.

SDC/bhs
Enc.





GENERAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS

Chapter 90: Section 19A. Weight limitations for certain motor vehicles, semi-trailers, etc.; scales; penalties for violations.
Section 19A. Any provisions of sections thirty and thirty A of chapter eighty-five to the contrary, notwithstanding a motor vehicle having two axles, which vehicle with its load weighs not more than forty-six thousand pounds, and a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, semitrailer unit or tandem unit having three or more axles, which unit or vehicle with its load weighs not more than eighty thousand pounds, may travel on a public way without a permit as required by sections thirty and thirty A of chapter eighty-five; provided, however, that no such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, semitrailer unit or tandem unit, the weight on any axle of which, measured at the ground, exceeds twenty-two thousand four hundred pounds, or, in the case of axles spaced less than six feet apart, eighteen thousand pounds, shall so travel without such a permit; and provided, further, that such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, semitrailer unit or tandem unit may not travel on a public way without such a permit if the overall gross weight on a group of two or more consecutive axles thereof exceeds the gross weight produced by application of the following formula:


W=500(LN/(N-1)+12N+36)

where W=overall gross weight on any group of two or more consecutive axles to the nearest 500 pounds, L=distance in feet between the extreme of any group of two or more consecutive axles, and N=number of axles in group under consideration except that two consecutive sets of tandem axles may carry a gross load of 34,000 pounds, each providing the overall distance between the first and last axles of such consecutive sets of tandem axles is thirty-six feet or more; provided, that such overall gross weight may not exceed eighty thousand pounds.