Harvest Season Emergency permit Q&A

Information for Illinois farmers

The following information is applicable during the 2018 Illinois fall harvest season. The Harvest Season Emergency (HSE) permit allows heavier truck weights on specified routes to accommodate more efficient transportation of harvested crops. The three common forms of weight restriction—gross, axle and registered—are all addressed.

1. Is the HSE permit available?

Yes, Governor Rauner declared an emergency harvest period beginning Sept. 10, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018.

[NOTE: Legislation passed in 2018 eliminates the requirement for the Governor to declare a HSE in order to make the permit available. The new law will take effect January 1, 2019.]

2. Where can I use this permit?

The Governor’s proclamation states that the emergency harvest exists for the transportation of all agricultural commodities from “Illinois’ fields to market and also to and between storage or processing facilities.

3. Where do you go to get the HSE overweight permit?

Just as with any other overweight permit, you go to the highway jurisdiction on whose roads you intend to operate. Where your route crosses several road jurisdictions, you’ll need several permits—one for each jurisdiction.

  • State routes – IDOT
  • County routes – county engineer
  • Road district roads – highway commissioner
  • Municipal streets – street department

Local jurisdictions (not IDOT) have the option of waiving the requirement for a (written) permit. If locals choose to, they may simply allow truckers to run on the roads they designate, without the need for a written permit.

[NOTE: This permit is not available for Interstate highways.]

4. For how many days is the HSE permit valid?

Permits are available beginning Sept. 10, 2018 and are available until Dec. 31, 2018.

Unlike last year, the 2018 HSE permit issued by IDOT is valid for only two weeks at a time. At the end of those 14 days, the carrier must obtain a new “14-day route authorization” for the permit. This periodic renewal is intended to account for any change in capacity of a road or bridge along the permitted route over that span of time.

Local jurisdictions permits might or might not require a periodic route reauthorization.

5. How much extra weight would be allowed?

All three common forms of weight restriction—gross, axle and registered—are addressed. In each case, the permit can allow up to a maximum of 10 percent over the standard weight restriction.

For example, a single axle is typically allowed up to 20,000 pounds. The HSE permit could allow up to 22,000 pounds on that axle. If the truck is registered (license-plated) to carry 80,000 pounds, then the permit could allow it to be operated at up to 88,000 pounds.

The 10 percent limit is the maximum a jurisdiction may offer. Any jurisdiction could also issue a permit for an overweight less than 10 percent above the standard limit.

6. What paperwork will I need to carry?

You’ll need to have three documents with you when operating under the HSE permit:

  • The permit (printed or electronic) along with its 14-day route authorization
  • A copy of form OPER 993; and
  • A copy of the Governor’s declaration

The permit and bi-weekly route authorization can be carried electronically on a smart phone or tablet.

7. What makes this permit so special?

The HSE permit has three provisions not normally applied to other overweight permits:

  • It requires a declaration by the Governor to implement it;
  • It allows gross weight overages for a divisible load; and
  • It allows the vehicle’s weight to exceed its registered (license plate) weight.

8. Does the law allow for-hire carriers to use the HSE permit, too?


9. Do bridge and roads postings for lower weights still apply?

Yes. Having this permit does not authorize you to exceed weight limit postings along roadways or on bridges.

[NOTE: If there is a reduced weight limit posting along the route, that reduced limit takes precedent over the permitted weight.]

10.  Does the permit guarantee me use of the permitted route?

No. Before IDOT’s permit with its 14-day route authorization is issued, the route is checked to ensure there are no restrictions. But, during that two-week period, things can change; the pavement or bridge might be posted for a reduced limit. Truckers are encouraged to check in frequently during those two weeks at IDOT’s online Illinois Transportation Automated Permits (ITAP) system to verify there have been no changes in route size or weight tolerances. That same posting restriction applies to local permits, too.

[NOTE: The route specified by the permit could add extra miles to your trip to avoid restricted roads or bridges. Because of that: Farmers might have to choose between taking a longer route at the higher, permitted weight versus a shorter route at a lower weight.]

11. Can I apply for a HSE permit from the State using a paper form?

No. The only way to receive an oversize overweight permit from IDOT is via their online Illinois Transportation Automated Permit (ITAP) system. For more information, visit: https://webapps.dot.illinois.gov/ITAP/

The ITAP system is usable via computer or your smart phone, 24/7. 

12. What information will I need to use the ITAP system?

You will need at least the following. Have it ready before you log into the ITAP system:

  • Truck registration
  • GVWR of truck (and trailer if applicable)
  • Axle spacings on truck (and trailer)
  • Dimensions of truck (and trailer)
  • Origin and destination of planned trip (address, latitude/longitude or select from ITAP map).
  • Credit card ($10 fee)

More information:

Illinois Farm Bureau: 309-557-3247
Illinois State Police: 217-782-6267; www.isp.state.il.us/ 
Illinois Dept. of Transportation: 217-785-1477; Permits website: truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/