Weight limits prevent large vehicles from using inappropriate roads, routes and areas in order to:
- prevent damage to buildings, roads and bridges;
- preserve the character, amenity and environment of an area;
- reduce and manage congestion on the roads; and
- reduce danger to pedestrians and other road users.
Two types of weight restrictions are used on our roads: environmental weight restriction and weak bridge weight restriction.
Environmental weight restrictions
Environmental weight restrictions can be considered on routes or roads which are not part of the Suffolk Lorry Route Network (PDF, 805KB) and at locations where a more appropriate, practical alternative route exists - lorries requiring access, and in some cases local deliveries, would still be permitted even if a weight restriction were introduced. Any new environmental weight limit is considered against the objectives of the Suffolk Lorry Management Plan. A weight restriction will only be considered on a road where there is a high volume of through heavy goods vehicles, which could use a more appropriate road.
Weight restrictions can only be introduced following the procedures associated with a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) (PDF, 55KB). Regulatory signs are erected on site to give effect to the TRO, to inform drivers, and to assist the Police in carrying out its enforcement. Where a TRO restricts the use of a road, route or area to certain vehicles, the signing of a recommended alternative route will need to be considered.
It can take between 6 months and 2 years to introduce an environmental weight limit, sometimes longer if there are more complex issues to resolve.
It is not always possible to introduce a weight restriction. Instead of an environmental weight restriction, it is sometimes possible to consider other actions. We work closely with hauliers in and outside of Suffolk and if appropriate will contact them on receipt of a completed HGV incident reporting form.
Weak bridge restrictions
Occasionally bridges require to be protected because of their condition and inability to support heavy lorries. A weight limit applied for these reasons applies only to the bridge, and is signed. In these cases access across the bridge is not permitted.