Canadian RTAC regulations require the wheelbase of a tractor to be within the range of 3.0 to 6.2 meters (118 to 244 inches). Some U.S. carriers (for example, Schneider and Watkins/Sheppard) wish to operate a series of tractors having a wheelbase of as low as 2.7 meters (106 inches) into the western Provinces. Different Provinces treat this matter differently. Manitoba deems these vehicles to be “non-RTAC” and thereby subject to the non-RTAC aspects of Manitoba's regulations. These regulations include a lower tandem axle weight (16,000 rather than 17,000 kilograms) and a shorter overall length (20 rather than 23 meters). This is no problem for Schneider since the 16,000-kilogram limit is greater than the U.S. 34,000-pound limit, and these short tractors can haul a 53-foot semitrailer just within the 20-meter Manitoba length limit. Alberta regulations do not permit the same response as Manitoba. Alberta specially- permits these units on the understanding that Schneider would phase them out of Alberta operations. British Columbia initially prohibited their use, although it is understood that this position has now been relaxed.
Certain U.S. tractors have wheelbases longer than the 6.2 meters permitted by RTAC. If the combination has operated in and out of the Province for several years, Manitoba allows these vehicles into the Province under special permit subject to the 23-meter RTAC overall length limit when in a tractor-semitrailer combination (or 25 meters in a double-trailer combination).
2.5 Extra-Legal Vehicles--Special Permitting
Many vehicles operating in the border States and Provinces are strictly speaking “extralegal vehicles,” defined by WASHTO as a “motor vehicle, laden or unladen which exceeds legal dimensions and/or weights and operates on highways by permit”. Many of these permits (for example, operating above the 80,000-pound GVW limit on Montana IS highways) are obtained more or less simply for the asking (sometimes accompanied by a nominal fee). In Washington's case, permits allowing 105,500 pounds GVW on IS highways are incorporated into the basic vehicle registration.
Where such permits are required but are obtained with ease and apply to day-to-day crossborder trucking operations, this report considers them part and parcel of regular TS&W limit provisions discussed in previous sections. Those aspects of crossborder trucking which are extra-legal in nature and which require non-routine permitting (for example, WASHTO's superloads, non- divisible loads, manufactured homes, and their equivalents in non-WASHTO jurisdictions) are beyond the scope of this report.