Now that school has started for many counties in the Ohio Valley, the concern for student safety on the roadways is at an all-time high. The condition of one road spanning Wetzel and Tyler County is so poor, that Wetzel County Schools have temporarily suspended bus routes.
Wetzel Tyler Ridge Road starts just a few miles outside of New Martinsville, and a number of road slips are leaving drivers frustrated, and school officials looking out for the best interest of the students.
There is one bus from Wetzel County Schools that travels the Ridge to pick up elementary and high school students, but after the first day of school on Monday, Director of Ancillary Services, Brian Jones, said they re-evaluated.
“Our main concern, is the safety of students, we’ve discontinued temporarily that existing bus run, in it’s entirety,” Jones said. “We have chosen to err on the side of safety, and when the slip is repaired by state road, then we will resume our bus run in its entirety.”
On Wednesday, Jones asked the West Virginia Department of Highways to trim back the brush at the site of the worst of the three road slips. On Thursday afternoon, crews were outside working on trimming back the leaves and adding gravel to the shoulder of the road to give drivers some more room as they are passing through the area.
The students affected by the altered bus route live just over the Tyler County line, but attend Wetzel County Schools. For the time being, parents are able to drop off their students at a site owned by the Wetzel County Sanitation Department a little bit down the road, where they can meet the school bus each day. The parents will be reimbursed an amount dependent on mileage for each day the student attends school, until the road is fixed.
Jones said the Department of Highways told him the road slip will be repaired after September, and wanted to add he is pleased with the good working relationship he maintains with state road officials.