Local News

Road Conditions Major Factor In Determining Whether Schools Close, Delay

Posted January 8, 2002

— Some students have already missed three days of school because of the snow. Others went back Monday on a delayed schedule. One of the systems that canceled classes was

Wake County

, leaving many people asking why.

Tony Tucker shoveled a path for melted snow to run into storm drains -- instead of forming a frozen pool in his yard and driveway. He was pretty sure there would be no school in Wake County on Monday.

"After looking at St. Albans Drive out here, I'm glad to see that they didn't go," Tucker said.

St. Albans Drive in north Raleigh is typical of more than 15 main bus routes, which were still covered in ice Monday morning.

After driving over hundreds of miles of roads Sunday night, Wake officials thought it was unsafe for buses and teens who drive to high school to handle some roads.

"If you go out to some of the roads right now, you will still see that ice that was there this morning is still there," said Wake Schools' transportation director Vern Hatley.

Nevertheless, many parents called to complain that the roads were OK.

Tucker was not one of them. He says he wants to see a lot of asphalt before he puts his child on a bus.

"I want them to be pretty clear. I want them to be more clear than St. Albans is, with just two little tire tracks on each side of the road," he said.

Sherlin said road conditions were OK for about 80 percent of the students they transport. However, as a countywide public school, they will not deploy buses unless it is safe for all of the riders.

Wake County also declines to use snow routes, where children collect at main roads only.

"You use them so seldom that folks don't know where the stops are, but probably more than that, you can never tell for sure that you're even going to be able to run the snow route," Assistant Superintendent Walt Sherlin said.

If a bus driver decides a given road is not safe, he or she may choose to avoid driving on it. If the bus does not come, parents are asked to either take their children to school or call the transportation office, which will arrange an alternative.

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