Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Commercial Vehicle Operations

Route survey

A comprehensive physical route survey is a route analysis and report conducted by the driver of the oversize vehicle or load; or a Minnesota certified Pilot Escort operator (P/EVO). The survey is to identify and document turn-by-turn navigation of the route and specific locations of concern for potential risk or damage. Details provided in the survey help MnDOT provide guidance and support for areas of concern, including but not limited to:

  • a need to alter state property or right-of-way;
  • altering or lifting overhead signs, signals, lights;
  • temporary removal of light poles or signs;
  • altering or lifting overhead cable and power lines;
  • rail crossings locations;
  • turn-by-turn details accompanied by the surveyor’s acknowledgment of MnDOT’s requirements and state law.

As set forth in Minnesota Statute169.88, damages may be recovered through civil action or other remedial action defined by the department. In addition, the permittee may be responsible for any personal property damage or injuries caused as a result of the permittee’s movement.

Dimension thresholds and requirements

  • When any one dimension exceeds 16 feet high; or 20 feet wide; or 175 feet long  
  • MnDOT requires a 6-inches of clearance above and below all permit vehicles/loads
  • MnDOT requires a 1-foot lateral clearance for all permit vehicles/loads

Timeline requirements

A physical route survey must be conducted within 14-days of the permit start date.

  • A physical route survey may remain valid for up to 60 days, as long as following moves are:
    • The same dimensions as initial survey
    • Transported by the same carrier
    • At least one movement occurs within a 14-day period

Requirements for conducting a physical route survey

As the carrier of the oversize/overweight load, you will need to do a physical route survey before the load moves to ensure clearance and before MnDOT issues the permit.

  • Minnesota does not recognize pole vehicles. A MnDOT approved physical route survey is required prior to permit issuance.
  • Height poles for surveying routes must be a nonconductive, nondestructive, flexible, and readily breakable.
  • Height poles must be set at a minimum of 6-inches higher than the highest part of the vehicle or load.
  • Minimum of 1-foot lateral clearance is required at the widest point of the vehicle or load.
  • Identify all rail grade crossings along the route; provide acknowledgement of adequate vehicle/load clearance requirements.
  • Specify which lane was used to maneuver under a low clearance. Maneuvers, such as backing up or using opposing traffic lanes, must be identified on the survey.
  • Notify MnDOT certified contractors for lights, sign, or signal alterations.
  • Notify power owners to raise or move overhead powerlines, utility wires or cables.
  • Property or obstructions may not be moved or removed without written permission of the owner.
  • The permit application route must match the survey route.

When MnDOT agrees to allow the alteration of state property; any portion of a roadway, bridge, signage, signal, or right-of-way during a permit move, the permittee is responsible for returning the roadway and right-of-way to the same condition, or better, than it was prior to the move. All alteration materials or supplies must be removed from the highway and right-of-way immediately after the move.