The Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works is counting on vultures to prevent long semi-trucks from getting stuck on a narrow bridge on Laughlin Road in the west part of the county.
The two 6 feet 8 inch vultures are the creation of Sebastopol artist Patrick Amiot. They will be mounted on a mast arm over Laughlin Road to keep trucks off the one-lane bridge between River and North Laughlin roads. The road is too narrow for trucks to make a turn at the one-lane bridge.
Sonoma County officials inaugurated the new artistic warning sign Wednesday morning.
"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," Amiot said in a statement.
In February 2014, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution prohibiting semi-trailer trucks longer than 38 feet from traveling on the road to limit the damage when the trucks get stuck and to allow enforcement agencies to issue citations to truck drivers.
The stuck trucks on the bridge cause extended closures at Laughlin Road and cause inconvenience to motorists and residents.
The Department of Transportation and Public Works also has approached GPS mapping organizations to make them aware of the issue and help dissuade truckers from taking the narrow road in west Sonoma County.
Transportation and public works officials also are installing five supplemental warning signs at the northern and southern approaches to the narrow bridge.
The artistic vulture warning sign is part of the Department of Transportation and Public Works' efforts to engage the county's communities in its work, including local artist projects in the unincorporated Boyes Hot Springs area and at bus stops along the Sonoma County Transit bus network.