Load Aggressiveness on Different Pavement Structures Due to the Weight Increase of Heavy Vehicles from 40 Tonnes to 44 Tonnes

Adriana Martínez, Magín Campos


The load capacity of goods vehicles is a critical variable in calculating transport costs. In Europe, the Council Directive 96/53/EC establishes the maximum weight and dimensions of goods vehicles in international traffic but also allows that any Member State authorises the movement of vehicles that fail to comply with these weights and dimensions within its territory. For this reason, some countries have used this power to introduce internal regulations regarding the maximum transport capacity. A case of particular interest discussed in this article is the vehicle with five axles (two tractor axles and 3-axle semitrailer), which is only allowed a maximum weight of 40 t by the Directive above. While some countries allow a maximum weight of 44 t when circulating within their territories, the limitation in Spain has been established by the Council Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 40 t, although this restriction is often discussed by the different agents related to the transport of goods by road. Therefore, this paper analyses the effect of T2S3 vehicles loaded with 42 t and 44 t on sections of flexible and semi-rigid pavements of the Spanish road network, to provide information about the impacts of the modification of the regulations on capacity.


flexible pavements; heavy vehicles; maximum permitted weight; pavement design; semi-rigid pavements

Full Text:



Alianza por la competitividad de la industria Española (2013). INECO. Estudio sobre la conveniencia y viabilidad de aumentar la MMA de los vehículos pesados a 44 t. July 2013. (in Spanish)

Burmister, D. M., Palmer, L. A., Barber, E. S., & Middlebrooks, T. A. (1944). The theory of stress and displacements in layered systems and applications to the design of airport runways. In Highway Research Board Proceedings (Vol. 23).

Conselleria d’Infraestructures i Transport (2009). Normas de secciones de firme de la Comunidad Valenciana. (in Spanish)

Corté, J. F., & Goux, M. T. (1996). Design of pavement structures: the French technical guide. Transportation Research Record, 1539(1), 116-124. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0361198196153900116

Council Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum authorized dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorized weights in international traffic.

Dauzats, M., Kobisch, R., Leroux, C., Odeon, H., Maribas, J., & Delorme, J. (2003). Construction Des Chaussees Neuves Sur Le Reseau Routier National-Specification Des Variantes-Guide Technique. (in French)

Díaz, R., Echaveguren, T., & Vargas-Tejeda, S. (2012). Camiones de alto tonelaje y su impacto en ciclo de vida de pavimentos asfálticos. Revista de la Construcción, 11(1), 101-118. https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-915X2012000100010 (in Spanish)

Dirección General de Tráfico, Ministerio del Interior, Gobierno de España (Spanish General Traffic Directorate) (2013). Reglamentación sobre vehículos pesados, prioritarios, especiales, de transporte de personas y mercancías y tramitación administrativa. Issue 2013. (in Spanish)

European Commission Directorate-General for Communication (2014). The EU explained: Transport. Citizens information. Belgium. Manuscript updated in November 2014. ISBN 978-92-79-42777-0.

Federal Highway Administration (2016). FHWA Vehicle Classification. Online Manuals. USA.

Gobierno de España (Spanish Ministry of Public Works). (January, 2016). Observatorio del Transporte de Mercancías por Carretera. Oferta y Demanda. Ministerio de Fomento. (in Spanish)

Hedberg, S. (2008). Monitoring of weights and dimensions of loading units in intermodal transport. The modular concept in practice: Experiences made in Sweden, Swedish Road Administration, presentation at the UNECE WP 24, 2008.

Highway Research Board (1961). The AASHO Road Test: Report 1, History and Description of the Project. Special Report 61A. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, D.C., USA, 1961.

International Transport Forum (2016). Road Transport-Weights and Dimensions. Permissible maximum weights of lorries in Europe (in tonnes). Retrieved from http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/

Kerzreho, J. P., Hornych, P., Chabot, A., Trichet, L., Gouy, T., Coirier, G., & Deloffre, L. (2012, September). Evaluation of the aggressiveness of different multi-axle loads using APT tests. In 4th International Conference on Accelerated Pavement Testing (pp. 505).

Kraemer, C. & Albeda, R. (2004). Evaluación técnico-económica de las secciones del firme de la norma 6.1-IC. VI Congreso Nacional de Firmes. León, Spain, 2004. (in Spanish)

Kraemer, C., Pardillo, J. M., Rocci, S., Romana, M., Sánchez, V. & del Val, M. A. (2004). Ingeniería de Carreteras. Vol. II. Editorial McGraw Hill, 2004. (in Spanish)

Leduc, G. (2009). Longer and Heavier Vehicles. An overview of technical aspects. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports. European Commission. Joint Research Centre. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. European Communities, 2009.

Leonardi, J., & Baumgartner, M. (2004, June). CO2 Reduction and Efficiency in Road Freight Transport–Measures, Baseline and Potential. In Presentation for the 23rd meeting of the International Energy Workshop (pp. 22-24).

Ministère de l'écologie, de l'énergie, du développement durable et de la mer (French Ministry of Ecology) (January, 2011). Conseil général de l'environnement et du développement durable. Rapport au Parlement sur les enjeux et les impacts relatifs à la généralisation de l'autorisation de circulation des poids lourds de 44 tonnes. (in French)

Norma 6.1-IC “Secciones de firme”, aprobada por la Orden FOM 3460/2003. Gobierno de España (Spanish Ministry of Public Works). November, 2003. (in Spanish)

Orden PRE/2788/2015, de 18 de diciembre, por la que se modifica el anexo IX del Reglamento General de Vehículos, aprobado por Real Decreto 2822/1998, December 2015. (in Spanish)

Service d'Etudes Techniques des Routes et Autoroutes  Laboratoire central des ponts et chaussées (SETRA-LCPC) (1994). Conception et dimensionnement des structures de chaussée. Guide Technique. Ministère de l’équipement des Transport et du Tourisme. Paris, France, 1994. (in French)

Service d'Etudes Techniques des Routes et Autoroutes (SETRA) (2009). Incidence des PL sur les coûts de construction des chaussées neuves. Ministère de l'écologie, de l'énergie, du développement durable et de la mer (French Ministry of Ecology), April 2009. (in French)

Steer, J., Dionori, F., Casullo, L., Vollath, C., Frisoni, R., Carippo, F., & Ranghetti, D. (2013). A Review of Megatrucks – Major Issues and Case Studies. Directorate general for internal policies, Policy department B: Structural and cohesion policies, Transport and tourism.

DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2019-14.450


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Adriana Martínez, Magín Campos

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.