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Vermont officials installing chicanes to keep big rigs out of Smugglers Notch

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The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) is trying out a new tactic in hopes of keeping big rigs from getting stuck on narrow and twisty Smugglers Notch.

Each year, several trucks get stuck on Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108 in spite of lots of signage warning truckers that tractor trailers are not allowed. Many times, these “stuckages” impede the flow of traffic for several hours and result in costly fines.

AOT announced Wednesday that work has begun to install traffic barriers called “chicanes” on Vermont Route 108 on either side of Smugglers Notch in hopes of keeping big rigs away.

The chicanes are a system of consisting of orange barrels and curbs designed to “stop tractor trailers and other oversized vehicles, force them to turn around, and thus prevent any attempt to continue driving on VT 108 into the Notch.”

The chicane system that is currently under construction is temporary as officials plan to evaluate their use for one to two years to determine if they are effective. If they effectively keep trucks away from the Notch, officials may install permanent versions.

The temporary chicanes should be fully installed and operational by mid-May.

Smuggler's Notch

“We’ve completed various traffic engineering analyses and discussed the options with our partners, and there was a strong consensus that the chicanes are the best option,” said Todd Sears, Deputy Director of the Operations and Safety Bureau.

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