Smuggler’s Notch, the narrow, winding pass between Stowe and Cambridge, was shut down overnight Thursday after another tractor-trailer became stuck. The truck was cleared around 8 a.m. and the road reopened.
The Notch continues to be open for the season but the annual closure by VTrans is expected sometime in the next few weeks depending on weather. Last year, VTrans closed the pass in mid-November.
Vermont State Police said a Sagal Transport LLC rig got stuck while heading north through the Notch at about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. The driver, Shakur Awfarah, told officers he was just following his GPS, the agency said.
Troopers issued multiple tickets to Sagal Transport LLC for the failed attempt to navigate the Notch, aka VT 108, as well as for shutting down traffic on the pass.
For decades, tractor-trailers have been getting stuck in the Notch, blocking the road for other travelers and leading to hours-long delays while crews removed the vehicle.
This season, more than a half-dozen tractor-trailer drivers suffered the consequences of ignoring signs warning of the tight curves – and the hefty fines for getting stuck in them. First offenses can cost trucking companies and independent contractors $1,000, with second offenses carrying fines of up to $4,000.
Two weeks ago, the Vermont Department of Transportation proposed what they hope is a solution: artificial rubber curves, called chicanes, that replicate the tight turns in the Notch. Officials hope that chicanes positioned at each end of VT 108, near the Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch ski resorts, will convince truck drivers to reverse course.
Several Vermont lawmakers have also sponsored a bill, now in committee, that would fine companies like Google and Apple $2,000 if they don’t notify big-rig operators that the Notch is off limits to them.