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What is Convoi Exceptionnel (CE)?

The basic law governing road transport in France is the ‘Code de la Route’ (CDR) which is the equivalent of the Road Traffic Acts in the U.K. It is regulated by an interministerial decree dated 26th November, 2003 and implemented on 21st May, 2004. Transport is classed as exceptional/abnormal if due to its length, width and/or weight in indivisible mass exceeds any of the limits laid down by the CDR. Thus it becomes ‘CONVOI EXCEPTIONNEL’ (CE).

The French administrative areas roughly correspond to a British county which is similar to a French Département of which there are 93. The Direction Départementale de l’Equipement (DDE) is responsible for the administration of CEs. Permits are issued by the DDE of the Département where the journey starts which is theoretically responsible for fixing the type of escort required, however, any Département on the route can make its own conditions which now happens with increasing frequency and with no advance warning.

There are two types of authorization:


Decree of Local Range

Envisaged to meet LOCAL needs for six types for transport

* Indivisible parts of long length
* Sawlog,
* Agricultural machines, instruments and sets,
* Materials and machines of public works,
* Open sets,
* The transport of ISO containers

Available on request.

Validity long duration.

Circulation or transport in the department specified + a department bordering provided that this department took the same type of decree.

The use of motorways (Autoroutes) is forbidden.

The decree must be aboard vehicle and must be presented when requested by any police officer.
A defective authorization on board is liable to a contractual fine and can involve the immobilization of vehicles.
The person on leave commits himself respecting the whole of the regulations enacted by the Decree of Local Range.
Beyond two departments (departure + bordering) this type of authorization is not valid.


Individual Authorizations

1st Category

They are "permanent" or for a single journey.

Valid for a maximum period of 60 MONTHS for:

* A precise route,
* A network national chart,
* A departmental network,
* A connection with a network.
* They give access to the motorways according to the technical specifications of exceptional transport which accompanies the national chart by the routes for exceptional convoys of the 1st category.

This chart is available from Service of Technical Studies of the Roads and Autoroutes (Bagneux). It authorizes with the conveyors, under their whole responsibility, a distance of 20 km of the network in point of origin or destination without particular request for connection to the network.

The convoys do not require accompaniment.

The indication of these convoys is in conformity with Articles R 313-1 and R 313-32 of the Highway code on the one hand, and in Article 16 of the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003 on the other hand.

A back going beyond in conformity with the Highway code is authorized within the limit in length of the category.

Speed:

* 80 Km/h on the motorways,
* 60 Km/h on the other roads (70 Km/h on roads in priority matter)
* 50 Km/h in urban areas
* The decree and the whole of its appendices, if necessary, must be aboard vehicle and be presented if requested by any member of the police force. The defect of authorization on board is liable to a contractual fine and can involve the immobilization of vehicles.

2nd Category

They are "permanent" or for a single journey
Valid for a maximum period of 24 MONTHS for:

* A precise route,
* A network national chart (limited in total mass travelling to 48000 kg),
* A departmental network,
* A connection with a network.

Accompaniment: At least an escort vehicle if the width is greater than 3,000 mm.. This vehicle must be equipped in accordance with Article 16 with the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003.

According to the route and/or the conformity of the burden-sharing, an accompaniment complementary to the general accompaniment can be prescribed by the service instructor.

The indication of these convoys is in conformity with Articles R 313-1 and R 313-32 of the Highway code on the one hand, and in Article 16 of the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003.

A back going beyond in conformity with the Highway code is authorized within the limit in length of the category.

Speed
* 80 Km/h on the motorways,
* 60 Km/h on the other roads (70 Km/h on roads in priority matter)
* 40 Km/h in urban areas.
* The decree and the whole of its appendices, if necessary, must be aboard vehicle and be presented if requested by any member of the police force. The defect of authorization on board is liable to a contractual fine and can involve the immobilization of vehicles.

3rd Category

Valid for ONE journey only during a defined period which does not exceed:
6 MONTHS if the convoy is in 3rd category by the travelling total mass or axle weights,
12 MONTHS if the convoy is in 3rd category because of its gauge on a route and for a loading identical.

Indication : conform to article 16 of the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003.

Going beyond : authorized with individually.

Accompaniment:

At least an escort vehicle according to width and/or length, equipped in accordance with Article 16 with the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003.

Complementary accompaniment according to table of accompaniment appearing in the interministerial decree of 26th November 2003.
ESCORT of police force or systematic gendarmerie for any convoy of a width greater than 4,500 mm and/or length greater than 40,000 mm and/or of travelling total mass higher than 120 000 kg.

Speed:

* 60 Km/h on the motorways,
* 50 Km/h on the other roads
* 30 Km/h in urban areas
* The decree and the whole of its appendices, if necessary, must be aboard vehicle and be presented if requested by any member of the police force. The defect of authorization on board is liable to a contractual fine and can involve the immobilization of vehicles.

Any transport is classed as exceptional/abnormal if one of its dimensions may consist of several items of the same type, provided that the other dimensions and the weight still fall within traffic regulations.

Any transport is classed as exceptional/abnormal if two of its dimensions (width and length) may consist of several items of the same type, provided that the weight still falls within traffic regulations.

Authorization for exceptional transport is required if the overall dimensions listed below are exceeded:

Length 16,500 m – tractor/semi-trailer
18,350 m – lorry/trailer
18,750 m “new build” lorry/trailer
Width 2,500 m
2,550 “new build” vehicles
Height 4,000 m
Weight 38,000 tonnes on 4 axles
40,000 tonnes on 5 axles

In France, transport is divided into 3 categories based on the dimensions

MAXIMUM DIMENSIONS CAT.1 CAT.2 CAT.3
OVERALL LENGTH UP TO 20,00 m 20,00 - 25,00 m OVER 25,00 m
OVERALL WIDTH UP TO 3,00 m 3,00 - 4,00 m OVER 4,00 m
GROSS WEIGHT UP TO 48,000 kgs 48,000 - 72,000 kgs OVER 72,000 kgs

TIME RESTRICTIONS

Movement is forbidden on Sundays and public holidays, as well as Saturdays and the day before a public holiday from 12.00pm until the Monday or the day after the bank holiday at 6.00 am.

All Category 1 can travel both day and night, with the exception of special cases.

All Category 2 & 3 MUST travel during the day, again there are special cases.

Some Category 2 & 3 can travel at night, but subject to special restrictions and/or in certain areas or urban zones. This permission is very rarely given.

ESCORTS:

One or two escort cars and, possibly, a Police / Gendarmerie escort may be needed. The next table shows the limits above which these are a legal requirement; however there are many vehicles which do not meet these conditions but may still have to be escorted.


ESCORT REQUIREMENTS

 

  LENGTH LENGTH LENGTH LENGTH
WIDTH UP TO 20,00 METRES 20,00 - 25,00 METRES 25,00 - 30,00 METRES 30,00 - 35,00 METRES 35,00 - 40,00 METRES
UP TO 3 METRES NONE NONE PILOT VEHICLE PILOT VEHICLE 2 PILOT VEHICLES
3 - 4 METRES PILOT VEHICLE PILOT VEHICLE PILOT VEHICLE 2 PILOT VEHICLES PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE
4 - 4.5 METRES PILOT VEHICLE PILOT VEHICLE 2 PILOT VEHICLES PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE
4.5 - 6 METRES PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE PILOT VEHICLE + POLICE

Ministry Approval

Vehicles exceeding 250000kgs, or 5.50m. wide or which cannot be contained within a rectangle 35.00m. x 5.00m. or any of whose axles exceed the maximum permitted for CEs require approval from the Minister of Transport.

Drawbar Combinations

When working under CE rules drawbar combinations are restricted to 18.75 m. in length. The authorities are taking an increased interest in this type of vehicle and it is becoming almost impossible to obtain Permits on any grounds other than width. Even if a Permit is issued for greater length Police or Ministry roadside controls may well prevent the vehicle from completing its journey.

Application form is available for download by clicking this link

this link
CE+Permit$2C++Application+Form+1
CE+Permit$2C++Application+Form+1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [11.8 KB]
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