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Vt. police: GPS leaves trucks stuck on notch road - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. police: GPS leaves trucks stuck on notch road

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CAMBRIDGE, Vt. - Nathaniel Cahon of Stowe was taking his usual shortcut through Smugglers' Notch when traffic came to a stop.

"I was just giving a co-worker a ride to pick up his car. And we were going to come over the notch, which is the most convenient route. But there was a tractor-trailer in the way," Cahon said.

A truck driver attempted to navigate the tight turns on Route 108, a route prohibited to tractor trailers, but he couldn't make a corner and his trailer got wedged on a rock. It jammed up the truck and traffic.

"A lot of people were stopped talking to each other trying to figure out what was going on. I went out and told a lot of people that there's a tractor-trailer up here and it's stuck," Cahon said.

With giant boulders on both sides of the road, even small cars have trouble on the winding road, say nothing about big rigs. But Vermont State Police say trucks get stuck up on Smugglers' Notch often. And most of these truck drivers come from out of the area.

"A very common thing we see is that truck drivers are simply following their GPS. And GPS devices don't recognize the fact that this route is not open to truck traffic and they'd guide them up and over that route, and they very quickly find that they're stuck," Vt. State Police Capt. Paul White said.

A rock at the top of the hill on 108 is where most of the stuck trucks get caught up. Agency of Transportation officials say as trucks climb the hill thinking it'll get better, it in fact gets worse.

"He acknowledged that he saw the signs but didn't think it was that bad and he got himself hung up on some rocks near the top," said Ernie Patnoe of VTrans.

Right now, "Trucks Prohibited" signs only appear after you're already on Route 108, heading to the notch. VTrans is looking into adding "No Trucks" signs on Route 15 in Jeffersonville before trucks turn onto Route 108.

And so far, the state has had no luck working on a GPS fix.

"Communicate with the various GPS manufacturers to try to get them to remove this route from their systems, but either they haven't found a way to successfully do that or they're just not willing to participate with us," White said.

Both state police and transportation officials believe no matter how many signs there are a truck will likely get stuck again.

"Huge inconvenience," Cahon said.

VTrans says in stuck truck situations, the state picks up the tab for the traffic barriers. The truck removal costs are all on the truck driver or the trucking company.

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