Roads a hazard for bus drivers
ROLLESTON’S school bus drivers have delivered a scathing report on the condition of roads they are forced to travel on to deliver children to and from school on their daily runs.
Residents have appealed to the Central Highlands Regional Council to do something about the state of the network, which continually goes under water at infamous crossings during flood events, leaving the town stranded.
The latest flood saw three metres of water over the Comet River crossing and two over the Panorama Creek crossing, resulting in the town being cut off for a matter of months.
But bus drivers and residents said the roads were a constant problem they had been battling with for years.
“It’s just horrendous,” Dominique Biles said.
Mrs Biles drives the North Rolleston route on one of the three school buses heading into town each day along the Blackwater to Rolleston Rd.
“The 20 to 30 kilometres closest to Rolleston are just a mess – it is extremely corrugated and certainly not a good stretch to be driving on with 24 kids on board,” she said.
“To pass an oncoming vehicle, I have to stop and pull over, then let it pass while I am off on the side of the road.
“There’s lots of traffic on it and if a truck comes, it can get pretty bad, especially when they are going too fast.
“There are times when it’s wet and trucks come flying by and it gets a little scary, especially with the children there.”
Mrs Biles said the 220km round-trip she completed each day took her more than four hours.
One of her counterparts, Tanya Jackson, who drives the Arcadia route bus, said Mrs Biles “does not deserve a badge for driving the Blackwater to Rolleston Rd- she deserves a queen’s crown”.
Mrs Jackson has been driving her route four times a day for three years.
She brought 19 children into town each day and said she had seen nothing done to improve the roads in her time as a bus driver.
She expressed fears for the future of the roads with the likelihood of increased activity due to Endocoal mining developments in the area.
“There’s enough traffic on them now as it is, we have trucks, mining equipment and tourists and something needs to be done about the roads before it gets any worse,” she said.
“We don’t ask for much out this way, but if you’re going to use our roads, could you at least keep them in some sort of good condition?
“I’m responsible for 19 children and if I lose concentration for even half a second, there could be a disaster.”