Crane Institute of America

Transporting Mobile Cranes


Most country roads can’t support the weight of a mobile crane.

Today’s heavy lift cranes weigh almost as much as the loads they lift, which means getting them to the job site can be a challenge.

Not only do crane companies need to be experts in the field, they need to be experts in federal and state Department of Transportation requirements for getting equipment to the job site. Even a small company traveling within its own state has to deal with load limits on roads and bridges. They have to know about special vehicle registration, when permits are required, and what permits are required. They need to know when to remove weight from the crane, and how to transport the boom and counterweights separately. Larger companies, traveling over state lines, need to know the subtle differences in requirements from state-to-state or may be faced with large fines, travel delays, or accidents.

Extra planning is required if any part of the travel is off-road or on non-paved roads. The travel plan could call for removing weight from the crane in order to stay within weight requirements on public-paved roads. When going off-road, it may be necessary to use wood, metal or cement matting over the full route of travel, or in extreme cases, building a road that can handle the weight of a crane.