A year after upping the fines for running large vehicles on the route, more than eight large vehicles got stuck in the 2017 season on Vermont Route 108, open seasonally and winding up and down and around between the towns of Cambridge and Stowe in an area known for its heavy winter snowfall. The Vermont Agency of Transportation had good news, perhaps, for those who continued to follow their GPS blind through the area behind the wheels of such vehicles, including tractor-trailers, about this route last week:
RT 511VT: The time has come to officially announce that VTrans is leaving Scenic VT 108 “The Notch” closed for the season.
— Vermont Agency of Transportation (@AOTVermont) November 24, 2020
Good news because such blind followers will be much less likely to find themselves stuck in what’s known as the “Smuggler’s Notch” section of the road and hit with a fine that can run into the thousands for violating the ban on tractor-trailers traveling the route. I bring it up after hearing again from reader Steve Hearne, who alerted us to the continuing issue of truckers getting stuck there in 2017 after the prior year the Vermont state legislature raised the penalty (from a paltry $200 to up to $2,000) for violating the large-vehicle ban, requiring also upgraded no-trucks signage (shown above).
Hearne passed along another instance of a closure of the entire route on account of a stuck truck, published by WCAX news on Oct. 15, noting it was the second time such a closure had happened in that month alone.
Hearne’s message to truckers coming through the area from three years ago bears repeating today. As I wrote then:
The video posted from WCAX-3’s coverage simply “doesn’t do the road justice,” Hearne added. “I can tell you firsthand it is a challenge to pass through there in a four-wheeler. There is a house-size boulder at one point that the road goes around, and line of sight is barely beyond your own hood. Any large vehicle, especially any tractor-trailer, is doomed.”
Fair warning for the Spring when the route reopens.