CAMBRIDGE – Another tractor-trailer has been lured to its doom by the dangerous creatures who lurk in and around Smuggler’s Notch. The sirens use their voices to magically enchant truck drivers onto Notch Road, generally on the Cambridge side of the pass, and then watch as the drivers literally destroy themselves on the dangerous rocks. The sirens have been a problem for millennia, and local officials are struggling with how to handle them.
“I honestly don’t know what else we can do,” says frustrated fire chief Alan Cary. “We’ve put up huge blinking neon signs, posted warnings both online and all over town, and we’ve even started going up to truckers personally to beg them to use earplugs when driving in and around Cambridge and Jeffersonville, but nothing seems to work. And I know these guys aren’t stupid. There’s no way any of them are driving their trucks into the notch intentionally. But once you hear that song, you really don’t have a choice.”
The truck drivers themselves are also at a loss. The subject of the sirens came up at a recent Teamsters union meeting, although there was some confusion when non-locals confused the magical sirens of death with emergency police sirens. No solution was settled on for dealing with the Smuggler’s Notch sirens, although there was agreement that, in the case of the other kind of sirens, truckers should slow down and pull to the side of the road.
“I can’t explain it,” said Randy Janssen, the trucker who recently got his truck wedged into the rocks. “I was driving through town, making my deliveries, no intention of heading over to Stowe or anything, but then I hear this music. I can’t even describe it. It was like, if Trisha Yearwood and Patsy Cline had a baby, and that baby was an evil demon with magical singing powers, or something like that. Like I said, I can’t describe it. Anyways, I just started driving toward the music, and I knew, deep down, that I shouldn’t do it, but I couldn’t help myself. I saw the neon warning signs, but it was like someone else was driving my rig, and then BAM! Right into the rocks. And then the music was gone. It’s kind of embarrassing actually, plus I don’t know how I’m going to pay for the truck.”
For now, truck drivers are being advised to avoid Mount Mansfield entirely until the Vermont Department of Transportation can finish developing the sonic weapon it has been working on for the past decade.
Image Credits: Lamoille Country Planning Commission.
The state should put up a large steel beam that restricts the height of vehicles and or a one lane restricted width gate. That “might” deter some of them. But that would be “dangerous” and people are stupid and need to be protected from themselves.
The state has done everything possible to keep this from happening, short of blocking the road to trucks (which was also discussed). I know because I was part of that group. Some truck drivers use GPS guidance to navigate, and when time and money are on the line and your route was shown to go on that road to save over an hour travel time to go around, they go no matter what signs, warnings, devices, or anything else you put in their way. The other drivers are usually local and have done it before. They know how to set the trailer wheels, when to turn, where to turn, and sometimes they get just too brave. Look at the scrape marks on the rocks next time you travel up there, or take a day (and a pick-nick) and sit on the Smuggler’s Notch road on a sunny afternoon during the week and see how many cut through. There is really no good solution that would not also limit campers, buses, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, etc. without making the road a toll road with a gate and having someone to turn them away. And if that were to occur, the tractor trailers would need room to back up and turn around. Not much room up there …
The idea of a 12 foot five steel beam at the turn arounds for the ski areas on either side is a perfect solution. Put a flashing low clearance sign on top of it if they don’t see that they shouldn’t be driving a truck anyway. If they miss that one they’re going to smash their trailer, and they have a place to turn around and go back down the mountain.
Can’t the DOT come up with a pressure/weight strip to lay across the road that sets of “bells and whistles”?
seriously…. the DOT… ??????????
Up the fine to a few thousand dollars and 6 points on their CDL. That should keep all but the most foolish from going there, and those people probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a big rig in the first place.
Perhaps a “smart” warning system, in which laser sensors would actually measure th truck length and wheelbase, and camera with recognition software would read the plate number and the name of the trucking company. Then a little further along a light board would flash a message like “Smith Freight, Maryland Plate 2HB4396 – You Vehicle Is Too Long, and You WILL BE FINED $10,000 if You Proceed!” Then there needs to be some way the truck can re-route at that point.
My husband says that they should put up a big sign that has pictures of stuck trucks, how long it took to get them out and the fines they had to pay!
along with the Wrecker Bill !!
I think they should just build a small overpass/ trellis like structure at both ends of the notch that big trucks WONT fit under, then they ate forced to turn around and not go that way.
Tall trucks aren’t always long
OMG!!! That trucker was great.
Maybe a Big FINE! TRANSPORTATION NEEDS TO GET HEAD OUT OF ASS AND FIGURE IT OUT!!!
Height and length are two different things maybe just make it a toll road and someone can waste their day collecting money for Bernie to get a new car and just turn away trucks that won’t fit.
How about you put something like a toll both on each side of the mountain ¡!
The road commissioner Should be fired.
Why fire the road commissioner, he in no way makes them take that route, when there are signs and neon signs at that what the hell more should they need.
Time to resurrect the proposed tunnel plan.
Have it taken off GPS as a route
I have been on the great plains with only a tree every 20 miles and still, cars seem to find and hit it. No matter how much money you spend accidents will happen.
Come on- Ulysses figured the whole thing out. Jeez.
You cannot legislate for stupidity. Most of these are the result of the education system teaching by rote (what to think) and not teaching people HOW to think!
I do miss Vermont, quite a bit… hope to get back there before I turn 45 so I got about 6 years…. when I worked at Stowe and lived in Johnson, biggest fear during the summer was driving up the Notch only to find it blocked and having to call work and tell them I’ll be an hour late.