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Section 4: Changing Load Zones on County Roads and Bridges

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4.1 Law Ruling

Texas Transportation Code §621.301 requires counties to obtain TxDOT concurrence for proposed changes to county road and bridge load limits. Counties will petition TxDOT for concurrence with a load limit by submitting a request to the district engineer. The county’s request must include an engineer’s evaluation of the proposed change along with supporting documentation.

The procedure outlined in this section will help expedite review of county requests that involve emergency or other temporary situations that pose a risk to the public or potential damage to a road or bridge. The department is not responsible for monitoring county compliance with this amendment of the Transportation Code. Also, a change in a county road limit does not require an approved Executive Order.

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4.2 Coordination Between County and District

Each district will be responsible for communicating the requirements of the statute and providing information to the counties. The following table lists the steps that the district shall take when a county submits a proposed change in load limits to the district engineer.

Anchor: #i1001241Table 13-3: Changing Load Zones on County Roads and Bridges


Required Action


Determine if TxDOT concurrence is necessary.

  • A county must always obtain TxDOT concurrence for a proposed change in:
    • road load limits, or for a proposed road load limit on a county road built on a new location, if the proposed load limit is less than the legal load limit permissible under the Texas Transportation Code;
    • bridge load limits not supported by TxDOT inspections.


Check the completeness of the request.

  • If TxDOT concurrence is required for the proposed change, the request must include the information and supporting documentation listed in “Table 13-4: Required Information and Supporting Documentation.”


Evaluate the request.

  • If the district does not have the resources or expertise to perform the review, contact MNT for roads and Bridge Division for bridges to assist in evaluating the proposed change.


Provide written concurrence to the county.

  • If the submitted documentation and calculations accord with accepted engineering principles and practice, the district engineer should provide written concurrence to the county within 30 calendar days of receiving the complete request, including all supporting documentation.
  • If the district engineer does not respond within 30 calendar days, the county may consider the proposed limit to have TxDOT concurrence.


Provide the district pavement engineer with copies of concurrence correspondence.

  • If concurrence is given for changes in:
    • road load limits, provide the district pavement engineer with a copy of the county request, supporting documentation, and district concurrence letter for record purposes;
    • bridge load limits, provide the district bridge inspection office with the new load ratings and a copy of the documentation for updating the database.


Provide written notification withdrawing concurrence.

  • The district engineer may review a changed load limit and withdraw concurrence at any time by providing written notification to the county.


Review request for appeal.

  • The county may appeal a decision of the district engineer by submitting a written request along with the required documentation to the executive director of TxDOT.
  • The executive director will review the request to determine if department concurrence will be granted.
  • The executive director’s decision is final.

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4.3 Required Information and Supporting Documentation

The following table lists the required information and documentation that must be included in the request for changing load limits on county roads and bridges.

Anchor: #i1001269Table 13-4: Required Information and Supporting Documentation



  • A cover letter that includes:
    • Name, phone number, email address for a county contact person.
    • Route name/number, location including limits of proposed load zoning, and length (in feet) of the section to be load zoned.
    • Reason for the proposed change.
    • The current and proposed limits. The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and allowable axle weights should be specified.
    • Date of the last rehabilitation or reconstruction performed on the road.
  • Description of pavement typical sections and section limits, including layer thickness, material types, lane and shoulder widths, and curb and gutter locations, if applicable.
  • Engineering Analysis - Supporting documentation that has been sealed by a professional engineer. The engineering analysis shall follow one of the methods described below.
  • Name, phone number, email address for a county contact person.
  • Route name/number, location, feature crossed, and structure number (if known).
  • Reason for the proposed change.
  • Supporting documentation that has been sealed by a professional engineer and includes a structural evaluation report documenting the condition of the bridge and calculations supporting the proposed limits. Calculations should include the inventory and operating ratings for the bridge as defined by the AASHTO Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges, Chapter 6.

Engineering Analysis

An engineering analysis is required for load posting roadways. The analysis and recommendations are required to be signed and sealed by a professional engineer. The analysis must demonstrate that the recommended gross vehicle weight or limiting axle load group is expected to preserve the pavement structure. TxDOT recommends a remaining life of approximately 10 years; however, the analysis may result in less when accompanied by supporting justification.

At a minimum, an engineering analysis must include the following information and analysis supporting the load zoning recommendation:

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