Notoriously tricky route closed for winter season after ‘dooming’ too many semis

"Any large vehicle, especially any tractor-trailer, is doomed."

Vermont’s notorious “Smugglers Notch” has been officially closed for the winter season in order to prevent any semi trucks from getting stuck. 

Fines for large vehicles stuck after choosing to travel Vermont Route 108 were upped to more than $1,000 for a first offense just a few years ago, and officials say that seemed to work for a little while. But 2020 saw a sudden influx in semi trucks stuck along the winding, scenic route: eight trucks have gotten stuck in 2020, with 4 in the month of October alone. 

“It feels like we’ve just been inundated in the last few weeks,” Vermont DMV Commissioner Robert Ide said in an October interview with WCAX 3 News.

After closing the route in early November due to a large accumulation of snow, the Vermont Agency of Transportation has chosen to leave Scenic Vermont Route 108 “The Notch” closed for the duration of the winter season, in part because of the rising trend in stuck big rigs.

“We have been holding off for the official closing, thinking conditions might allow a reopening. However, reality has set in along with additional accumulation of snow over the weekend,” the transportation agency’s Brent Curtis said. “Time to say the Notch is officially closed for the winter season.”

 “I can tell you firsthand it is a challenge to pass through there in a four-wheeler,” wrote one Smugglers Notch traveler in an email.  

“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.”