North Dakota Expands Overweight, Oversize Permit Options

Flexible Permitting Law Part of State Efforts to Reduce Red Tape
North Dakota signs
A North Dakota interstate. (Ken Lund/Flickr)

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Trucking companies in North Dakota are going to be able to have greater flexibility and efficiency serving the agriculture industry with overweight and oversize permits due to a new law passed at the request of the state highway patrol.

The new flexible permitting law was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum on March 16 and filed with the secretary of state on March 23. It is a result of Burgum’s executive order in August to reduce and streamline the state’s regulations to improve people’s lives and grow the economy. The order also created a Red Tape Reduction Working Group to review agency regulations, restrictions, requirements and policies that have become outdated, inefficient and overly burdensome.

“By cutting red tape and streamlining regulations, we can lower the cost of government, improve efficiency and empower our citizens to reach their full potential,” Burgum said.

As of March 23, Burgum had signed 33 of the more than 50 bills to reduce red tape in state government, including revamping the truck permitting law.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum


“Our administration has embraced innovation over regulation, and these bills support that approach by doing away with unnecessary, duplicative and burdensome red tape. We appreciate all of the cabinet agencies, noncabinet team members and members of the public who contributed to these efforts with their ideas and suggestions, and the Legislature for continuing to support and promote efficient government,” he added.

One key provision of the new law allows trucking companies with oversize and overweight loads to use a 129,000-pound permit on the interstate system when carrying weights over 80,000 pounds and under 105,501 pounds. Before the law, companies buying the 129,000 overweight permit for 30 days or an annual permit had to also get an interstate permit when traveling over 80,000 but under 105,501 pounds.

Arik Spencer, past executive vice president of North Dakota Motor Carriers Association, urged legislators to pass the bill while testifying on behalf of NDMCA, since it increased efficiency by removing the need for trucking companies “to purchase two permits for the same load and route and would simply allow the trucking industry to use their 129,000 permits on the interstate system.”

Spencer also advocated modifying the state code to “allow the motor carrier industry to purchase oversize and overweight permits for a 30-day period rather than just on a per-trip or annual basis. This change acknowledges that freight movement is dynamic and that vehicles break down, road closures occur, or there are times of the year that see increased freight movement.”

Jackie Darr, permit office supervisor for the state highway patrol, said during recent testimony, “Companies with truck breakdowns or that hire someone to assist for a short term would prefer this option. The option would also be beneficial to the ag industry during planting and harvest season.”


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Now trucking companies can decide if they want a 30-day permit for overweight and oversize permits for a single trip, but also can get an annual permit. The new law also lets them decide if they want their annual permits to start Jan. 1 and expire on Dec. 31 or after a given date expiration of 365 days.

Darr noted that all oversize and overweight permits would be for legal weights or bridging weights due to axle configurations.

“This change would not affect any bridge structures for travel due to weight limitations,” she said.

Lawmakers also approved of the suggested $50 price for 30-day permits, which follows the same 30-day pricing structure for state permits.

Spencer said the NDMCA “thanks the North Dakota Highway Patrol for recognizing that these changes will benefit the trucking industry by increasing efficiency without sacrificing safety.”

NDMCA collaborated with the highway patrol office, the state transportation department and Association of General Contractors on ways to improve the old law.

The state’s construction industry especially favored the law enabling companies to chose when annual permits expire. “Construction season is limited in our state due to weather. This would allow them to purchase all permits at once instead of waiting for a current permit to expire,” Darr noted.

A state legislative analysis of the bill found that providing companies with additional permitting options would have no a fiscal impact on revenue for permit sales.

The Red Tape Reduction Working Group acted on nearly 400 of 500 ideas from the public, agencies and team members that resulted in draft bills submitted to be acted on during the legislative session.

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