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Requirements for overdimension vehicles and loads

The standard dimensions of vehicles, loads and how much loads can overhang are set by law in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule 2016 (VDAM Rule).

Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule 2016

The rule also provides for occasions when loads and vehicles exceed the standard limits.

Overdimension categories

There are four categories of overdimension vehicles and loads. Overdimension vehicles and loads are classified into either category 1, 2, 3 or 4.

The category an overdimension vehicle or load falls into depends on the extent by which it exceeds standard limits for one or more of the following dimensions:

  • width
  • forward distance
  • length, and/or
  • front or rear overhang.

Categories by width and forward distance

The combination of width and forward distance of a vehicle or load determines its swept path requirement. The swept path requirement is the maximum road width taken up by a vehicle when it negotiates a turn.

The graph below shows the overdimension categories and their width/forward distance thresholds.

Table to determine category, based on width and forward distance

Legislation reference: VDAM Schedule 6, part 2

Note: Vehicles or loads that are less than 2.55 metres wide, or that have a forward distance of less than 8.5 metres, are considered to be 2.55 metres wide and have a forward distance of 8.5 metres for the purpose of determining their category according to the above graph.

Specific requirements

In some cases you must apply to us for an overdimension permit which sets a number of requirements, including:

  • pre-travel route checks
  • required permissions, eg from railway operators
  • vehicle lighting
  • piloting
  • emergency service notifications.

Specific routes restriction for overdimension travel

Overdimension vehicles must comply with particular restrictions on specific routes, as set out in the table below. These specific restrictions apply whether the vehicle is operated under a permit or not, and are in addition to the travel time and zone restrictions.

Legislation reference: See schedule 8 of the VDAM rule for specific route restrictions for overdimension vehicles and loads.


Maximum dimensions


Auckland Harbour Bridge

4.8m high 3.1m wide

Vehicles wider than 3.1m may travel across the bridge if authorised by the Traffic Operations Centre and accompanied by a Class 1 pilot vehicle (or more pilots if required by the VDAM Rule).

Auckland Motorways

4.3m high 3.1m wide

  • Vehicles wider than 3.1m but no higher than 4.8m, and
  • vehicles higher than 4.8m with permission from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency —

may use:

  • SH1 between Ramarama Interchange (Ararimu Rd underpass) and the southern end of the Auckland Southern Motorway
  • SH18 between the intersection with SH16 and the intersection with Albany Highway, and
  • SH1 between the Silverdale interchange and the northern end of the Auckland Northern Motorway.

Wellington Motorway

4.8m high 3.7m wide

Vehicles exceeding maximum dimensions may travel on this route provided they comply with the conditions from Waka Kotahi.

Lyttelton Tunnel

4.27m high 2.6m wide 23m long 1
2m front and rear load overhang

Vehicles exceeding maximum dimensions may travel through the tunnel if the operator:

  • has obtained permission from Waka Kotahi through Tunnel Control, and
  • complies with any piloting or travel time restrictions required by Tunnel Control.

Toll routes

4.8m high 3.1m wide

Wider or higher vehicles may only travel on toll routes with explicit authority from Waka Kotahi and provided the operator complies with any piloting or travel time restrictions required by Waka Kotahi.


  1. Towing vehicle and semi-trailer.

Current travel time and zone restrictions

Apply for an overdimension permit

Application for an overdimension permit

Access to the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Route

Waka Kotahi has approved travel through Bay of Plenty for operators of overdimension movements wanting to use the Tauranga Eastern Link, a toll road.

Previously, the VDAM Rule required operators to seek permission for the use of this toll road. The NZ Heavy Haulage Association, operators and industry have repeatedly approached Waka Kotahi and the Ministry of Transport, seeking to have the process streamlined.

Waka Kotahi has now created an explicit authority on its website, still satisfying the VDAM but allowing Waka Kotahi to alter or remove the authority if warranted. This access change became operational on 12 October 2020.

Tauranga Eastern Link explicit authority for travel on toll route [PDF, 422 KB]

Operators can now print off this authority and provide it when queried at roadside. There are restrictions on when over-dimension vehicles can use the toll road and the authority aligns with those times mentioned in the explicit authority document.

Permissions required when operating an overdimension vehicle

Permissions that may be required when operating an overdimension vehicle. These permissions are in addition to the permissions required for using specific routes as described in the previous section and may be needed even if operating under an overdimension permit.

Permissions to cross railway level crossings

If your vehicle or load exceeds 25 metres in length and will cross a railway level crossing on its journey, you must obtain written permission from the access provider to travel over the level crossing. Some level crossings may also have height, weight or width restrictions, and a permit from KiwiRail or another access provider may be required to cross those safely.

Oversized loads for railway (KiwiRail website)(external link)

Over height vehicles

If your vehicle is higher than 4.3 metres, you may need written permission from the asset owner to pass under overhead obstructions or electrical lines. Evidence of permissions must be carried in a readable format in the vehicle and shown to an enforcement officer on request.