Max length of container/tractor-trailer?

What is the maximum size of a container that can be transported along roadways? The longest I’ve seen is 53’ - is that the limit?

And why 53’? It seems a strange number. My guess is that a “typical” city intersection, whatever that may be, cannot be negotiated by anything longer than a tractor pulling a 53’ trailer. Am I even close?

Here are the max allowable lengths by state. Many don’t allow 53 foot trailers but some allow up to 57’.

Sorry, some states allow up to 59 feet.

Interesting chart. But I still wonder what the significance of 53’ is.

If you look at the bottom at the text, 53’ is where some states start requiring special permits and fees for a load. They have to draw the line somewhere I guess. I have never driven a truck that big but I have worked around lots of 18 wheelers and I would imagine those big ones would be a bitch to drive around.

Generally vans and reefers are limited to 53’ by law in all states on national highways, but often restricted on other roads. Van and reefer trailers have grown longer over the years. Most in use today are 48’ and 53’, in prior years it was 42’ and 45’. The driving factor is palletized loads. Standard pallet size is 40"X48", but you can only put 22 pallets in a 48’ trailer, unless you stagger them by turning the pallets. This is a time waster in most situations, so the industry pushed for 53’ trailers. They have been trying to get 57’ trailers approved, but so far unable to do so.
Flatbeds and specialty trailers have other dimensions and restrctions.

I had a long discussion with my brother about this. He drives a semi.

My question had more to do with why some of the trailers rear wheels are adjustable as far as the distance from the rear of the trailer. Tractors are different lengths too. And the 5th wheel on the tractor is adjustable as well.

I thought it was for better negotiating turns.

According to my bro… it has nothing to do with it. It’s all about weight and load distribution . Mostly for bridges that you may cross on your run. What the bridges are rated at, the load you are carrying and how it is loaded.

It’s a ‘per axle thing’. Moving the trailer axles and the 5th wheel better distributes the load.

Now, that does not tie into the overall length of your basic semi, but I found it interesting.