Transportation officials in Sonoma County, California, are trying an innovative new tactic to keep truck traffic off of a one lane bridge. The County of Sonoma Department of Transportation and Public Works (TPW) is working with local artist Patrick Amiot to create two six-foot-eight-inch vulture sculpture that will perch atop a mast arm over Laughlin Road in Santa Rosa, according to a news release from Sonoma County officials.
The project has been dubbed the “Laughlin Road Artistic Warning Sign.” “Hopefully, no semi-truck will venture on the narrow bridge and everyone else that drives Laughlin Road will get a big smile every time they see the birds staring at them,” said Amiot. The purpose of the vulture sculptures is to keep trucks off of a single lane bridge near the intersection of North Laughlin Road. In addition to the vultures, transportation officials will also be adding five standard warning signs at the bridge entrances. County officials say that they’ve been dealing with trucks illegally entering the roadway and getting stuck for years: “On February 25, 2014, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to prohibit semi-trailer trucks longer than 38 feet from traveling the road, in order to limit damage and provide enforcement agencies the ability to issue citations to drivers.
Each occurrence of trucks getting stuck on the bridge results in extended closure of Laughlin Road causing an inconvenience to motorists and residents, and a cost of approximately $15,000 to extricate the disabled vehicle. TPW officials have also approached GPS mapping organizations to make them aware of the issue and request their support in dissuading truck drivers from taking the route.” TPW Director, Johannes J. Hoevertsz, said, “We believe the vultures offer a fun and cost-effective solution to an ongoing problem in a way that is unique to Sonoma County and mixes art and engineering to implement a traffic control measure.” You can take a look at more of Amiot’s work below.