Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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PART 554



Section 554.801  General

a)         The Engineer of Operations through the Permit Office or the District Engineer in the District in which the event occurs may authorize emergency moves of vehicles, vehicle combinations, or loads that exceed the maximum legal dimension and weight limitations in a disaster area without a standard permit. Authorization may also be issued for the movement of State, local agency, or leased equipment for snow and ice removal without permit.  However, normal permit requirements should be generally observed where practicable. During regular office hours, the Permit Office (217-782-6271) should be contacted for assistance in permit routing and coordinating the movement.  When the Permit Office is closed, the Communications Section of the Department (217-782-2937) will contact permit officials as needed and coordinate the movement. 

b)         For purposes of this Part, "disaster" includes flood, tornado, fire, or any other disaster that causes or threatens loss of life or destruction or damage to property of such a magnitude as to seriously endanger the public health, safety, and welfare or that causes or threatens to cause destruction or major damage to the highway or other transportation system.  Emergency moves may be authorized:

1)         when disaster is apparent,

2)         during the disaster period, and

3)         in the initial stages of recovery.

c)         Following the emergency, such vehicles, vehicle combinations, or loads must be moved from the disaster area under permit authority.

d)         The Permit Office may also allow the movement of equipment that is needed to make emergency repairs to industrial installations and other facilities where delays would cause severe economic hardship.  The Department considers a severe economic hardship to be whenever the company will have to lay off one or more shifts of employees or there is a potential loss of contracts or equipment worth several thousands of dollars.

e)         Companies moving at least once a month on an emergency basis, and providing emergency services as a portion of their regular business, must have  escort and lighting approval.  The escort vehicles must comply with the requirements in Section 554.408 and the extremities of the load must be illuminated.  An illuminated or reflectorized "Oversize Load" sign must be displayed on the front and rear of each load and escort vehicle.  They must also establish an account with the Permit Office or use a credit card for the payment of fees.

Section 554.802  Manufactured Home Emergency Moves

In the event an area has been declared a disaster area by the President or Governor, house trailers may be authorized to move into the area without a standard permit.  The house trailers may not exceed 12 feet wide and 85 feet combination length.  They must be owned by the victims of the disaster or otherwise be brought into the area for relief purposes.  If the units are furnished by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the Permit Office will generally allow movement in conformance with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) National Policy.  However, the Permit Office may include additional restrictions in its authorization.

Section 554.803  Railroad Derailment Emergency Moves

Emergency moves of vehicles or loads to railroad derailments may be authorized for movement over State highways during periods when normal permits are restricted, provided:

a)         There is a loss of life threatened, hazardous materials are involved, a mainline or other major line is blocked, and the Department is notified of the incident no more than six hours after it has occurred.  If more than six hours have elapsed before the Department is advised, the situation is not generally considered to be of an emergency nature.

b)         During normal working hours, the emergency services company must obtain a standard permit by contacting (217)785-1477.  If the incident occurs when the Permit Office is not open, the railroad representative and the requested emergency services company must contact the central dispatcher (217/782-2937) within six hours of the time of occurrence to request the move and provide details.  The required information that must normally be provided before authorization will be granted includes the exact location of the incident, the time of occurrence, the number of cars involved, an exact listing of the commodities contained in each car, the description of equipment needed, the origin and requested routing of the move.  If loss of life is threatened or a highway is blocked, the Permit Office may waive the immediate need for some of this information.

c)         After receipt and verification of the required information, the Department representative will check the requested routing to ensure it will safely accommodate the load.  If the authorization is approved, he/she will then issue the permit by telephone and send a Teletype message to the Illinois State Police. He/she will also advise the State Emergency Management Agency of the incident and the commodities involved.  In order to obtain an authorization for movement at night or on weekends, the permittee must have received prior Permit Office approval of their escort and emergency lighting protection or have approval from the Illinois State Police that they will escort the move.

d)         That, due to the physical capacity of the highways, the proposed moves be 12 feet or less in width, of legal height, and not exceed the practical maximum weights listed in Section 554.604.

e)         That insofar as practicable, all safety precautions and operational conditions normally imposed by the Permit Office for special movement be observed.

f)         If traveling conditions on the involved highways are considered hazardous due to weather, the Department's dispatcher will contact the Illinois State Police and, if necessary, hold the authorization until the highways are sufficiently clear to allow safe movement.  While the provision may result in some delay, it is the Department's responsibility to ensure the presence of these oversize and overweight movements on the highway does not unduly endanger other motorists.

g)         After release of the authorization, the permit fee will be charged to the emergency service company's account or be processed for billing.

h)         That annual permits are available to move oversize or overweight equipment to the sites of train derailments and shall include all equipment otherwise eligible to obtain single trip permits under normal situations. Annual permits can be used at any time for movement to the site of a train derailment. [625 ILCS 5/15-308.1]

Section 554.804  Radioactive Materials

Permits may be issued for the movement of an overweight and/or overwidth container, empty or loaded, designed for transporting radioactive materials.  The moves must conform to all applicable safety regulations.  These moves are made under the same conditions and provisions as other overweight moves, except it is recommended they not be made in congested areas over critical highway facilities or during rush hour periods.  Federal regulations may require routing around certain urban areas.

Section 554.805  Toxic, Gaseous, and Highly Explosive Materials

a)         Toxic, gaseous, and highly explosive liquid or gaseous materials generally are transported in special vehicles that conform to legal dimensions and weights. Occasionally, such vehicles are found to be overweight and are stopped by the Illinois State Police as authorized by law.  Under the law, the driver may not proceed until the weight has been reduced to legal proportions. Requiring the driver to remove part of the cargo to reduce the weight to legal limits may constitute a hazard endangering a large area.

b)         Upon recommendations of the police and if determined feasible by engineering analysis, a special authorization may be issued:

1)         Permitting the driver to proceed to the nearest point where suitable unloading facilities are available to remove the excess cargo; or

2)         Permitting the driver to return to the point of origin in Illinois or to the point of entrance to the State.

Section 554.806  Livestock

Since confinement of livestock in a trailer for an extended period can result in death, the Permit Office may authorize overweight loads of livestock to proceed subject to the following conditions:  

a)         The police recommend the load be allowed to proceed to a specified point for unloading the excess livestock, and

b)         the routing is able to accommodate the excess weight.

Section 554.807  Disabled Vehicles

Limited Continuous Operation Permits are available to remove disabled vehicles from the point of disablement on Illinois highways to a site not exceeding 50 miles from that initial hook-up point.  No single rear axle shall exceed 26,000 pounds and no tandem rear axle shall exceed 50,000 pounds.  (See 625 ILCS 5/15-301(n).)

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