Snow will fly this weekend Truckers must "chain up"

BENNINGTON — 'Tis the season: What for many will be the season's first snowfall is expected this weekend.

As of Friday afternoon, Bennington County was forecast to get three inches of snow, and Windham County, four inches, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. The snow is expected to fall over several hours and to taper off between midnight and early Sunday morning. The regional office on Friday afternoon issued a hazardous weather outlook in southern Vermont and most of eastern New York.

"While these amounts are expected to fall short of advisory criteria, this will be the first accumulating snowfall of the season for much of the area," reads a special statement from the NWS. "Drivers are urged to use caution due to low visibility and potentially snow covered roads."

For commercial truck and motor coach drivers traversing Route 9 between Bennington and Wilmington during the inclement winter weather, it may mean putting snow chains on their rigs' tires.

There's a good chance that two designated pull-off sites on Route 9, where those drivers will have to put on or take off chains, will be activated, said Rob Faley, district administrator for the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). It does depend on the timing of the storm and conditions of the road, he said. "If it is just light snow and we are able to keep the roads from getting slick we may not have any issues, but a few bursts of heavy snow may change that pretty quickly."

The law applies to drivers of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight rating, greater than 26,000 pounds. Drivers who don't follow the requirement face fines:

The law doesn't apply to most area residents traversing Route 9 on a given day.

"It's the cross country truckers that aren't used to driving Vermont roads in winter or are poorly equipped that are the concern," Faley said.

The chain requirements will be enforced by VTrans DMV enforcement unit and the police, VTrans officials say. A failure to use snow chains carries a $1,000 fine, according to state statute. That fine grows to $2,000 if the violation "results in substantially impeding the flow of traffic on a highway." And for a second or subsequent violation in a three-year period, the fines double.

Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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