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“People would go in the river” blindly following their GPS, covered bridge advocate says

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Truckers and other drivers blindly following their GPS have led to the destruction of covered bridges along the east coast, leaving officials at a loss for what to do. 

Miller’s Run bridge, a 140 year old covered bridge in Lyndon, Vermont is continuously damaged by box trucks, commercial vehicles, and even RVs thanks to faulty GPS directions, says Justin Smith, municipal administrator in Lyndon. 

“GPS is the most general excuse that is given by drivers that do hit the bridge,” he said to ABC News.

“I swear, we could take that bridge out and not replace it and people would go in the river. It’s very frustrating to think that we are that set to what something tells us to do.”

Police Chief Jack Harris believes that the Miller’s Run bridge has been hit at least two dozen times, and has even been hit twice in one day. 

“They will claim that they didn’t know they hit it and yet you’ll see the truck stop in the middle of the bridge and they’ll look up to see that they’re hitting the bridge,” Harris said. “I can count the number that have stopped and waited on one hand.”

“Every now and then we’ll get a large camper being pulled through and those generally get damaged because the bridge will take air conditioning units right off the top.”

And Miller’s Run isn’t the only covered bridge being damaged – a recent incident with a covered bridge made headlines recently when the trucker’s employer publicly fired them for damaging a covered bridge after trying to drive over it. 

“You can visit many covered bridges throughout Vermont and other states and see broken boards on the portals and broken or missing roof braces,” said Bill Caswell, president of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.

Google has reiterated that “Google Maps is designed for drivers of standard-sized vehicles. To get the best routes, we encourage drivers of trucks and larger vehicles to use navigation tools designed specifically for those vehicle types.”

For now, Lyndon is not sure how to fix the issue. 

“Some people obviously want to see something that protects the bridge so we can keep it in place,” he said. “Others are like: ‘It’s time to take it off and set it on the side and put a more standard bridge in.”

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