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District Department of Transportation

Oversize and Overweight Vehicles Frequently Asked Questions

Monday, September 18, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Do I need a permit to move an oversize or overweight vehicle or load within the District?  

  • Yes for:
    • Any vehicle exceeding the District axle and gross weight limitations of 21,000 for single axle and 34,000 for tandem axle (see Chapter 25 of Title 18, DCMR)
    • Any vehicle wider than 8 feet – 6 inches (including load)
    • Any vehicle, other than a bus, over 40 feet long
    • A vehicle with a combined overall length of over 55 feet
    • A bus longer than 60 feet or wider than 8 feet – 6 inches
    • A vehicle higher than 13 feet – 6 inches (including load)

Q: How do I apply for this permit?  

  • Apply online on TOPS, the DDOT Online Permitting System, at, visit the DDOT website at or call (202) 442-4670 for assistance.  

Q: Do I need to register as a user on TOPS first?  

  • Yes.  Once at the TOPS online site, there are a variety of registration options, including as an “Individual” or as a “Business/Organization.”  You may register as an “Individual,” but most likely, you will register your company using the “Business/Organization” option.

Q: How do I register my company?  

You will need the following information to register your company on TOPS:

  • The company name, Tax ID number, company street address, and phone number.
  • An identified company administrator will have exclusive rights to approve other TOPS registered users to apply for permits on the company account.
    • This person will provide his or her name, email address, and phone number(s).
    • The registered administrator will pick a username and password.
  • There is optional information that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) collects from all users when registering to comply with Title VI and other federal nondiscrimination laws.
    • This information is optional and is not required to complete the registration process.

Once you have submitted your company registration:

  • DDOT will review the registration and confirm that the company is registered. This will take no more than one business day. An email notification will be sent confirming the acceptance of your company registration.
  • Only the company administrator will be able to authorize additional TOPS-registered users to apply for permits on the company account.

Q: How long will the permit application process take?  

  • Allow for two weeks for an annual permit.
  • Allow one week for single-haul permits. A route will be confirmed based upon size and weight.

Q: Is a police escort required when moving an oversized or overweight load?

  • Police escort may be required at the discretion of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).​
  • Applicant must contact MPD at [email protected] to determine if a police escort is required when the following conditions exist. ​
    • 15’ wide or more​
    • 150,000 Lbs. or more​
    • When the vehicle exceeds 14’6” in height and may require a pole car escort ​
    • Any vehicle carrying hazmat​
    • Any vehicle carrying any Class 1 Explosives - Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 ​

Q: Do I need a pilot/escort vehicle operator to accompany my oversized or overweight load?

  • Yes, a pilot/escort vehicle operator is recommended for any vehicle and load that exceeds:
    • 75' long
    • 12' wide
    • 13'6" high
    • 120,000 Lbs

Q: How much will the permit cost?

  • Single Trip: $30.00 one way or $50.00 roundtrip
  • Tractor Trailer: $85.00 per year

Restriction: A Single Trip permit will be required instead of an annual tag if:

  • Total length (including tractor, trailer, and load) is over 70 feet long
  • Total Height (including load) is over 13 feet – 6 inches tall
  • Total width (including load) is over 8 feet - 6 inches wide
  • Truck Crane or Concrete Pump Truck:  $85.00 per year

Restriction: A Single Trip permit will be required instead of an annual tag if:

  • The total width is greater than 11 feet
  • The gross vehicle weight exceeds 120,000 pounds
  • Dump Truck, Cement Mixer & Trash Truck up to 65,000 pounds:  $1,193.00 per year

Restriction: A Single Trip permit will be required if:

  • The total gross weight exceeds 65,000 pounds

Q: How can I pay for and receive the permit or tag?  

  1. Once the online application is approved, payment can be made online using MasterCard or Visa - or by mailing a check or money order made payable to “DC Treasurer.”  The DC Treasurer is located at 1100 4th Street, SW, in Washington, DC.
  2. Once payment has been received by DDOT, permits may be printed by the applicant from their TOPS account by clicking on the appropriate “View/Edit” option and then clicking on “Print Permit.”  
  3. Tags can be mailed (by registered mail) for a small fee by clicking on this option during the application process.
  4. Tags or permits may also be picked up at the permit office at 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd floor, Washington, DC.
  5. Those requiring assistance with the online application may go to the permit office to apply, pay, and receive their permit or tag (best to make an appointment (202) 442-4670). 

Q: What will I be required to do?

  • You will receive a paper permit, which must be kept in the vehicle at all times.
  • For annual tag permits, you will also receive a “tag” that must be affixed to the front of the vehicle and be visible to other motorists.

Q: What if I need additional information?  

  • Please call the Public Space Permit Office at (202) 442-4670 for assistance.