Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked questions about PennDOT's posting and bonding policy. This list is intended for general reference only. Please see Publication 23, Chapter 15, as the source reference. Since all laws and regulations are subject to change and judicial interpretation, an attorney should address specific legal questions.
Posting and Bonding
1. What is a posted roadway?
Any state or locally owned roadway which has a weight restriction established under Section 4902(a) of the Vehicle Code.
2. Why must roadways be posted?
Many of Pennsylvania's older secondary and rural roadways were not designed to support the heavy truck loads they presently carry. As a result, many of these roadways are being damaged causing PennDOT to perform maintenance and repair activity in advance of the normal cycle (excess maintenance). PennDOT's posting and bonding policies address this problem by requiring haulers to be financially responsible for excess maintenance on the roadways they use. In this way, PennDOT can maintain its rural roadways for simultaneous use by both passenger vehicles and haulers.
3. How does the posting regulation apply to bridges?
Bridges are posted independently of the roadway. If the bridge has its own weight restriction, a permit may be issued under Chapter 191 of PennDOT's regulations.
4. Who determines if a roadway must be posted?
PennDOT is the posting authority for state-owned roadways. Local governments are the posting authorities for locally owned roadways.
5. Will traffic routes and primary highways be posted?
Traffic routes and primary highways will generally not be posted. Secondary routes not designed or built to carry overweight vehicles may require weight-limit postings.
6. How much notice will the hauler receive regarding the posting of roadways?
PennDOT will advertise the planned posting of roadways as far in advance as possible. In most cases, a five-day notice will be given. Only during emergency situations will posting be erected with fewer than five days notice. If the hauler has any questions concerning the possible posting of the roadway, the hauler should contact the Posting Authority.
7. What is Seasonal Posting?
Seasonal posting are utilized in cases where the road's structural analysis indicates permanent postings may not be necessary. In most cases, seasonal postings are related to the winter months where the freeze/thaw damage cycle is most prevalent. However, seasonal postings are not necessarily limited to weather-related periods. Engineering judgement may impact the decision and the final determination will be the responsibility of PennDOT.
8. What is bonding?
When a hauler bonds a roadway, the hauler agrees to be responsible for any damages arising from its hauling. Bonding can be provided by a performance bond issued by an insurance company or irrevocable letter of credit. Other forms of security can be reviewed on a case by case basis at the posting authority's discretion.
9. What amount of security funds must be provided for bonding posted roadways?
There are four different amounts of security funds depending on the type of roadway and excess maintenance agreement. They include:
- $6,000 per linear mile for unpaved roadways;
- $12,500 per linear mile for paved roadways;
- $50,000 per linear mile for a paved roadway that PennDOT allows to revert back to an unpaved roadway (must be approved by District Executive); and,
- The hauler who occasionally travels over many different posted roadways in one county or municipality may provide $10,000 security for each county or municipality
The hauler is responsible for restoration of damaged roadways before the agreement can be terminated and the security released. These amounts are established in Chapter 189 of Pennsylvania Code Title 67, Section 189.2.
Excess Maintenance Agreement (EMA)
10. What is Excess Maintenance?
Excess Maintenance is the maintenance required in excess of PennDOT's normal routine maintenance due to over-posted-weight-vehicles damaging the roadway. Excess maintenance activities include, but are not limited to, repairing shoulders that are pushed and heaved due to hauling, repairing crushed pipes, patching a wheel-depressed road surface, repairing extensive potholes, and performing stone base repairs under the pavement.
11. What is an Excess Maintenance Agreement (EMA)?
An EMA legally binds a permitted hauler to be financially responsible for the maintenance and repair of roads directly damaged due to haulers activity on roads that exceed the posted limits.
12. Why is it necessary for the hauler to execute an EMA?
The general taxpayer is not required to pay for excess maintenance costs resulting from the effects of hauling on secondary roadways. The additional maintenance costs for roadways subjected to hauling are the responsibility of those who cause the damage.
13. What types of permits are available as part of a EMA?
- Type 1 Permit: A Type 1 Permit authorizes use of a particular posted roadway, or portion thereof, by an over-posted-weight vehicle belonging to the hauler, and it is valid only when carried in the over-posted-weight vehicles(s);
- Type 2 Permit: A Type 2 Permit authorizes use of a particular posted roadway, or portion thereof, by an over-posted-weight vehicle, and it is valid only when conspicuously displayed at the haulers place of business;
- Type 3 Permit: A Type 3 Permit provides authorization for over-posted-weight vehicle use of several specified posted roadways, or portions thereof; however a Type 3 permit is not issued providing blanket authorization to exceed posted weight restrictions throughout the county covered by the agreement. A Type 3 Permit is valid only when carried in the over-posted-weight vehicle belonging to the hauler.
14. Will an Excess Maintenance Agreement (EMA) permit allow any weight exceeding the posted limit to travel on the roadway?
If the hauler requires a permit to exceed 80,000 pounds, an EMA supplemented with a permit under 67 Pa Code § 179. Please visit the APRAS website to apply for the proper permit.
15. Who determines the condition of the roadway prior to the execution of an EMA?
The posting authority and the hauler conduct an on-site inspection of the posted roadway prior to the execution of an EMA. The hauler's responsibilities and bonding requirements will be determined at the conclusion of the inspection.
16. What is the responsibilty of the hauler under the EMA?
The hauler must pay for all excess maintenance repair costs. The hauler may choose from one of two options to repair the roadway. They include:
- The hauler or its contractor can make the repairs, or
- PennDOT or its contractor can repair the roadway and bill the hauler for the work. PennDOT encourages the hauler to either repair the roadway itself or hire an approved contractor.
17. How can a hauler be certain that it will be responsible for only excess maintenance repairs?
Before the EMA is executed, an on-site inspection of the posted roadway is conducted. During this inspection, PennDOT officials and representatives from the hauling company will complete a detailed report documenting the condition of the roadway. Copies of the inspection report are made available to the hauler. PennDOT continues to be responsible for normal maintenance work. The hauler is not responsible for repairing the existing condition of the roadway.
18. What happens if more than one hauler uses the same posted roadway?
Agreements will be executed for each hauler by PennDOT. If two or more haulers are permitted on the same posted roadway, they should determine themselves how the excess maintenance responsibility for the roadway should be divided. If the haulers cannot come to a mutual agreement, PennDOT will determine the relative responsibility for each hauler. Here is an expanded explanation of how PennDOT will allocate construction cost (PPT) among multiple users, which is detailed in Chapter 15.
19. What recourse does a permitted hauler with an agreement have if they discover that another hauler is traveling over a roadway without an agreement and permit?
PennDOT, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police or local law enforcement, is responsible for administering and enforcing the program, and they will contact any hauler committing possible violations. If a permitted hauler suspects that an unpermitted hauler is violating the weight restriction, it is their responsibility to report it to the Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT.
20. Is a hauler exempt from PennDOT's truck weighing program when its trucks are traveling on roadways it has under agreement?
The hauler's trucks cannot exceed the established gross weight limit. However, the axle weight limits will be waived for those haulers traveling on roadways they have under agreement. All gross weight and axle weight limits must be obeyed by the hauler when not traveling on roadways it has under agreement.
Local Traffic Exemption
21. Who may be exempt from the state's bonding weight limits?
Haulers may self-certify as local traffic based on existing regulations, vehicles with destinations along posted routes or whose destinations cannot be reached without traveling posted routes may qualify as local traffic and do not have to bond these routes. Vehicles that do not have to bond include emergency vehicles, school buses, and others traveling to or from residences, commercial establishments or farms along the posted roadway. In addition, vehicles associated with governmental agencies and utilities (or their contractors working for the Posting Authority) engaged in construction or maintenance activities may also self-certify. Self-certification is achieved by presenting a bill of lading, shipping order, or similar documentation to verify your destination if requested by law enforcement. An "at-risk" industry may qualify for local determination status on a roadway that is bonded by an Unconventional Oil and Gas developer.
22. What is an "at-risk industry" and how does one qualify for a LoLD?
The U.S. Census Bureau registers all companies with a North American Industrial Classification System code (NAICS) based on their primary business activity. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has identified a list of At-Risk Industry Sectors experiencing a 20 percent or more decline of employment since 2002. Hauling activity related to an at-risk industry sector is eligible for a Letter of Local Determination (LoLD) only for routes bonded by a UOG company. A company can investigate which NAICS code most closely applies to their primary business activity on the Census Bureau website or provide PennDOT an employer identification number for verification. A hauler may apply for and receive both an at-risk and a de minimis LoLD.
23. What hauling activities qualify for local determination under de minimis operations?
Eligibility for de minimis LoLD will be based upon the anticipated number of loads you expect to haul and the structural sufficiency of the roadway. If the route is sufficient, then you may be authorized for up to 10 loads per day. The hauler is encouraged to self-certify as referenced in Pennsylvania Code Title 67, Chapter 189.
24. Does unconventional oil-and-gas-industry-related hauling qualify for Local Determination?
Hauling related to unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development does not qualify for a Letter of Local Determination (LoLD) unless, upon the submission and review of a completed application, the department determines that:
- The hauling is not related to unconventional oil and gas development [as defined in PennDOT's Statement of Policy (67 Pa Code, Chapter 190)]; and,
- The scale of the hauling activity is not likely to cause damage to the route(s) specified in the application based on the structural capacity of the requested route(s) and the availability and suitability of alternate routes in the region.
25. What should the hauler do with the LoLD?
The LoLD, proof of ownership or authorized use of the vehicle as local traffic outlined in Pennsylvania Code Title 67, Chapter 189.3(c), and any additional documents required by the department shall be carried in the vehicle at all times while traveling on the weight-restricted roadways identified within the letter. Once issued, a copy of the LoLD must be carried
26. What conditions would result in the revocation of the LoLD?
PennDOT may revoke a LoLD if it determines the over-posted-weight vehicle or hauling is likely to cause, or has caused, damage. When a route is no longer bonded by a UOG company, then an "at-risk" hauler must be re-evaluated for a new LoLD. If the hauler does not qualify for a LoLD, then the hauler will be required to bond the roadway to continue hauling operations.
27. What are the limitations of the LoLD?
PennDOT-issued LoLDs do not apply to municipal routes. Also the effective period of a LoLD will not exceed 12 months. Hauling on approved routes under the LoLD will be prohibited between Feb. 15 and April 15 during spring thaw conditions. PennDOT may require additional restrictions due to roadway conditions, severe weather, or emergencies.
28. Who is responsible for the enforcement on municipal roadways?
29. Can a municipality request help from the Pennsylvania State Police or PennDOT?
Yes. The Pennsylvania State Police and/or Motor Carrier Enforcement Teams will assist a municipality with enforcement dependent on their work schedules; however, they will require a copy of the local ordinance authorizing the weight restriction, a copy of the traffic and engineering study and assurance the roadway has the proper weight limit signs posted before any enforcement can be performed.
30. Who determines how much of a penalty can be charged?
Fines are determined by state law, in this case the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - § 4902. It covers restrictions on the use of highways and bridges. The sections of the statute related to fines are as follows:
Any person operating a vehicle or combination upon a highway or bridge in violation of a prohibition or restriction imposed under subsection (a) is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $75, except that any person convicted of operating a vehicle with a gross weight in excess of a posted weight shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $150 plus $150 for each 500 pounds, or part thereof, in excess of 3,000 pounds over the maximum allowable weight.
Any person operating a vehicle or combination in violation of a prohibition or restriction imposed under subsection (b) is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $100.
31. Who do I contact if my road is damaged due to hauling?
Each PennDOT district has a Posting and Bonding Coordinator. Please click here for the contact information for each of the district offices.
Unconventional Oil and Gas
32. What is Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) development?
The activities associated with UOG well construction including site preparation and reclamation, drilling, completion, and pipeline construction on oil and gas gathering pipelines, not including transmission and distribution pipelines. UOG includes, but is not limited to Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling operations.
33. How does UOG drilling impact the roads and bridges?
The gas extraction process includes four primary steps that impact the roadway system due to the need for extensive hauling of materials into and out of a drilling site on secondary roads that weren't designed for the weight and volume. This causes roads to rapidly deteriorate.