Knowledgebase-Passing Weight Limits on City Streets

Information Product

Title:Passing Weight Limits on City Streets
Summary:MTAS was asked whether the town can pass weight limits upon its streets.
Original Author:Hemsley, Sid
Product Create Date:11/07/94
Last Reviewed on::06/20/2017
Subject:Traffic--Laws and regulations; Streets--Laws and regulations
Type:Legal Opinion
Legal Opinion:

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: November 7, 1994

Your question is: Can the town pass weight limits upon its streets? The answer appears to be yes, even though there is no express statutory authority for it to do so.

In support of that answer I am enclosing the unreported case of Town of Smyrna v. Plisch, and Tennessee Attorney General's Opinion 243, dated Sept. 15, 1982. Note that with respect to the latter, the City of Troy is chartered under the general law mayor- aldermanic charter as is your city.

Another approach the city can take to overweight trucks is based on Town of Newport v. Brewer, 566 S.W.2d 873 (1978) in which the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a municipality can sue a carrier for damages arising from the carrier's unreasonable use of the municipality's streets. Presumably what is reasonable and unreasonable use would depend upon the facts in each case. I am also enclosing a copy of that case.


Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant


Please remember that these legal opinions were written based on the facts of a given city at a certain time. The laws referenced in any opinion may have changed or may not be applicable to your city or circumstances.

Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information contained in this database.