Thursday will be a complex traffic day in Marshall County.
A construction project that seems endless, combined with the first day of school and a brand new bus schedule could tax the patience of drivers all over the county.
It’s the perfect storm of events.
It has Marshall County Schools officials scrambling to warn parents about several things–that school will be starting earlier than ever before and that buses may be stopped in traffic.
Moundsville’s Jefferson Avenue Extension–already closed for months–is going to remain closed into September.
That, plus the Route 2 construction, makes for near gridlock on a good day.
“Well it took me 30 minutes to get from Sixth Street in Glen Dale to Sixth Street in Moundsville the other day due to the traffic,” noted Chief Tom Mitchell of the Moundsville Police Department. “One of the problems is that it changes day to day. So if you drive through there on Monday and don’t drive back through there until Thursday, the cone pattern can be completely different. So you really need to be aware.”
For school bus drivers, it’s a challenge.
They might get kids to school on time, but there’s no guarantee.
“If they get stopped in this construction and get held up for five minutes, ten minutes, it’s something they can hardly avoid,” said Dave Smith, transportation director for Marshall County Schools.
Additionally, the school bus schedules are changing.
That’s because John Marshall High school is starting 12 minutes earlier, to create a bank of instructional time in case of snow days.
And that 12 minutes will have a ripple effect on the other 12 schools and 67 buses.
Some bus drivers will start out at 5:30 a.m.
Parents are not pleased.
“Some people are really upset,” said Smith. “And I do understand, because these smaller children are having to get on the bus so early. Also it’s messing up parents’ work schedules.”
And it all means slower traffic, longer drive times and higher blood pressure for drivers.
“It will be a good thing in the long run,” noted Smith. “But when you make changes, people have to get used to it, and right now it’s just something we’re all getting used to.”
“People need to allow a little extra time for their travel,” said Chief Mitchell. “They need to be patient. And they need to be cautious as they drive through construction areas. The thing people dislike the most is change. And the only thing that’s constant is change.”
Parents have been notified of the changes already.
But anyone who still has questions is urged to log on to the school district’s website, boe.mars.k12.wv.us.