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‘Some county roads are in really bad shape’

By Staff | Apr 10, 2009

Todd Hageness, of Hartley’s School Buses, has been down this road before.

Well, figuratively speaking.

It was 11 years ago when muddy and soft county roads in the spring prevented school buses from running all designated routes.

Last week, the bus contractor and Rugby school district officials had to make the decision again to cut back bus routes, sticking mainly to highways and farm-to-market roads due poor road conditions.

“Some county roads are in really bad shape, especially roads to the south (of Rugby),’ said Hageness early last week. “We just can’t take the chance of running and getting buses stuck, and also we don’t want to make those roads any worse.”

Bus routes in the northern tier of the district were able to resume by April 7. Remaining routes will open, beginning Monday, April 13.

Hageness and school administrators knew the above average snow this winter, coupled with the rain last fall, would take their toll on country roads come spring thaw.

As a result, some families living in the country that use the school bus service had to make arrangements to meet the bus on the main roads in the mornings and after school.

Jeff Lind, school superintendent, said most affected families have been understanding, realizing the road conditions simply wouldn’t allow for the buses to run their regular routes. “It’s an inconvenience, and hopefully it’s a temporary one,’ Lind said last week.

On average, between 120 and 150 students ride buses to and from schools each day.

Prior to the decision to scale back the routes, Lind and Hageness met with county commissioners and bus drivers to assess the conditions and determine where the buses could run and accommodate as many bus riders as possible.

The prospect of warmer and drier weather over the next week should help the situation. “It’s just one of those years where we had to deal with it,’ Hageness said.

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