Vermont officials seek to install road narrowing barriers on Smuggler’s Notch

For years the narrow Smuggler’s Notch road (Vermont Route 108) has posed a significant issue for Vermont law enforcement when a tractor trailer attempts to navigate over the top of the notch. The common result for these incursions is a five figure ticket for failing to comply with the numerous signs that lead up to the notch advising truckers that their vehicle will not fit.

As a result of the ongoing safety concern, the Vermont Agency of Transportation have approved a plan to install barriers on both approaches to the notch in a further effort to deter any trucks that attempt to illegally brave the hairpin turns and narrow shoulders.

These barriers, according to VT Digger, will be installed in the spring of 2024 when the road reopens for the season. The notch road closes down during the winter months.

The barriers were a result of a study commissioned by the State and public input. Other options that were discussed were installing a roundabout or height restriction archways.

This effort is in response to the trucks that have gone past the warning signs and have become stuck on the approach. In 2023, 4 such incidents have occurred, which is a downward departure from 2022 which saw 5 and 2021 which endured 6 incidents.

Smuggler’s Notch has always been one of Vermont’s treasures, which holds a combination of ruggedness and beauty. However, for those looking to make a living by navigating the narrow Vermont roads, Smuggler’s Notch is not one to be played with. Given the extensive efforts by the State to keep commercial trucks off the route, it is easy to assume that the penalties for a violation will only continue to rise.

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