What are the road transport load and size standards in Quebec?
In order to ensure the safety of road users and protect road infrastructure, the Ministry of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification requires road transport contractors to comply with many rules, including for shipment weight and size.
Without pretending to go into great detail, here is a summary of the main policies that regulate freight transport activities in Quebec.
Maximum authorized load
The maximum permissible load limits for truck transport vary depending on the vehicle’s axle configuration and the time of year. During the thaw period, permitted loads are lower than those permitted the rest of the time. To help you estimate a load’s weight, you can also use practical tools, such as a load density calculator.
For front axles
In the case of the single front axle, the loading limit is the same for the thaw period as for the rest of the year, i.e. 9,000 kg.
For tractors with a front axle tandem, the limit is 16,000 kg throughout the year, even during thaw periods.
For rear axles
For single axle trailers, the accepted weight limit is 10,000 kg. However, during the thaw period, it drops to 8000 kg.
For vehicles with two rear axles, permitted loads vary according to the distance between them.
In the case of a truck with two rear axles separated by a distance greater than 2.4 m, they can support a load of 18,000 kg in a normal period, and 15,500 kg in a thaw period.
For heavy goods vehicles with three axles, the law stipulates that if the distance between the first and third axles is less than or equal to 1.2 m, it is possible to transport a load of up to 18,000 kg during a normal period, and 15,500 kg in a thaw period.
The maximum permitted according to an optimal configuration is 26,000 kg in a normal period and 22,000 kg in a thaw period.
For vehicles with four or more axles, the maximum loads allowed by provincial regulation reach 28,000 kg during normal periods. This limit drops to 24,000 kg during the thaw period.
Details on load standards
Since trucks and transportation vehicles can have a multitude of configurations, you may want to make sure that you are complying with the laws by consulting the Vehicle Load and Size Limits Guide. This document contains even more detailed information on the permissible weight limits.
Maximum authorized sizes
For a truck, the maximum length allowed, including loading, is 12.5 m. However, if the length of the overhang exceeds 4 m, this limit drops to 11m.
If the truck is paired with a trailer, the legal length is 23 m, but is reduced to 1 m if the overhang exceeds 4 m.
In the case of semi-tractor-trailers, the law requires that the total length of the convoy be 25 m. The maximum body length is 20 m.
For a road vehicle, the maximum height is 4.15 m. However, it is important to check the clearance height of bridges and viaducts on the route. In this respect, a register of bridge clearances is available on the Ministry of Transport website.
In most cases, the maximum width allowed for a truck and its trailer is 2.6 m. If the width of the route taken is less than 2.5 m, the limit becomes 2.5 m.
Ensuring you meet the size and weight standards
Certain exceptions or unique convoy configurations can alter the size and load regulations. Therefore, if you have large items to transport long or short distances, you should not hesitate to hire a road transport company with a mastery of the existing regulations in several areas. This can protect you from violations that could jeopardize motorist safety and road network integrity.