Larger haulers will need to avoid Kingsville roundabout

Published 7:31 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2022

KINGSVILLE – Just after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, traffic stopped at the Kingsville roundabout. A tractor trailer hauling an oversized double-wide was stuck in the center, unable to move. Thirty minutes later, the nearby construction crew still working on the area was able to get the driver on his way, with cargo. 

But the situation highlighted another change the roundabout brings for local drivers. If your cargo weighs more than a certain amount, you’ll have to go a different route to your destination. 

“The roundabout is designed to handle a common tractor trailer,” said VDOT spokesperson Len Stevens. “When hauling oversized or super loads, the driver must have a (hauling) permit.” 

Now that permit, Stevens explained, comes from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. And when picking it up, the driver learns one of two things. He’s either given a specific route to take or required to have pilot vehicles help navigate certain intersections. The size of the cargo determines which option the driver receives. 

How big is too big? 

The DMV gives specific guidelines for drivers to follow. The automated hauling system, found here, maps out the driver’s destination. Then, based on how heavy the vehicle and cargo are, it assigns a route. This isn’t like receiving driving directions on your phone. Once a driver is given a route, they can’t choose another option. 

The reason, VDOT and DMV officials say, is to avoid situations like what happened this week in Kingsville. 

“A driver’s gonna know if they’re overweight or oversize once they go through the system,” said DMV spokesperson Jessica Cowardin. “It’ll spit out a route for them.” 

And to be clear, this isn’t just for tractor trailers or corporate haulers. This goes for any vehicle that will be hauling an oversized load. As for how big is too big, Jessica pointed The Herald to the DMV website, which says you’re required to get a hauling permit if a combination of your cargo and vehicle exceed any of these pieces listed: 

  • Height: 13 feet 6 inches
  • Width: 8 feet 6 inches
  • Length (Motorized Vehicles other than Buses or Motor Homes): 40 feet
  • Length (Trailers): 48 feet (53-foot trailers are allowed on interstate system)
  • Length (Vehicle/Trailer Combination): 65 feet, Overhang: 4 feet – Rear 3 feet – Front
  • Weight (Single Axle): 20,000 pounds
  • Weight (Tandem Axle): 34,000 pounds

Now there is a cost involved for these permits. A single trip permit costs $20, while a “blanket” permit, for multiple hauls over a specific period, is $100 for one year. A “superload” permit, for cargo that far exceeds the above requirements, is a bit more complex. There’s a $30 flat fee, with a mileage fee of 30 cents per mile if the vehicle and cargo combination is too big to be licensed in Virginia. 

No changes to Kingsville roundabout

That permit program won’t be changing anytime soon. Stevens said VDOT officials don’t have any plans to adjust the roundabout to fit the larger traffic. Anyone with an oversized load will have to apply for a permit and get a route from DMV before heading out. 

Why? The point of a roundabout is to manage and slow down traffic. VDOT staff estimate the fastest path speed a vehicle will travel while going through the roundabout. This is based off the speed that equates to the minimum radius on the fastest path through. Traffic entering the Kingsville roundabout slows down and yields to traffic already inside it. 

As for work on the roundabout itself, that’s still ongoing. Construction continues on things like masonry and aesthetics around the project, with all of that expected to be completed by October at the latest.