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Weigh stations and bridges

Commercial public weigh station, Napier


On a class 2 license you are allowed to drive 5 different types of vehicles:

  • A rigid vehicle (including any tractor) with a GLW of more than 6000kg but less than 18,000kg
  • A combination vehicle (that is not a tractor/trailer combination) with a GCW of not more than 12,000kg
  • A combination vehicle (that is not a tractor) consisting of a rigid vehicle with a GLW of 18,000kg or less towing a light trailer (GLW of 3500kg or less)
  • A rigid vehicle with a GLW of more than 18,000kg that has no more than two axles
  • A tractor with a GLW of more than 6000kg but not more than 18,000kg, if driven at a speed over 30km/h
Ever wondered how a vehicle is weighed though?
That's the function of a weigh station or weigh bridge - an expanse of metal plating or concrete slabs that serve as a long narrow 'basket' for scales that measure in the tonnes instead of grams or kilogrammes.  Some are above ground and have a ramp to drive up, others are set into a pit so you drive straight onto them.
Weighing a vehicle becomes important after custom manufacturing & modifications to check it's within it's class weight allowance; or for companies whose primary function is to carry loads that may vary in weight and who want to prevent getting a fine for bearing too much.   It could also be very useful if you are towing a fully laden caravan with your passengers in a car / van / motorhome and want to satisfy yourself that you can still do this on a class 1 license.
Most weigh stations are commercial and privately-owned meaning that if you are interested in using them there will be a fee.  They are directed at the multiple-use traffic moreso than the curious, and will have an account payment system with key or card access to the facilities 24/7.  [You'd be forgiven in thinking that just because some are designated as 'public weighbridges' they are free to the public.]
Unfortunately a Yellow pages search also brings up all the retailers of weighbridges not just the publicly accessible places.  If you are looking for a one-off weigh you may also be able to ask at local firms with their own installed on-site scales if they'd be willing to do you a favour - think metal or aggregate yards, agricultural grain stores, forestry or logging firms, rubbish disposal plants,  fruit packaging warehouses etc.
The NZTA is responsible for the weighbridges used by the NZ Police Commercial Vehicles Investigation Unit (CVIU) around the country to perform their road safety and Operator Safety Rating (ORS) checks.  These are in all the major districts: Auckland (Drury), Waikato (Paengaroa), Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu/Wanganui, Wellington (Plimmerton), Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, West Coat, Otago, & Canterbury.
Naturally it's better to be safe than sorry, and know (your weight) before you go.