Rolleston school bus route ‘unsafe’
THE wheels on the Rolleston school bus may not be going round and round much longer.
Part-time driver of the bus run Ruth Jones said she was "fed up" with the state of the Blackwater- Rolleston Road from the 20-mile (32km) junction into Rolleston.
"Safety is the number one priority and we have been at the point where I have been on the phone to Translink saying that if we can't get anything happening here we are going to have to close this bus run down," Mrs Jones said.
The road, which is partially unsealed with loose gravel, is a major problem for the small rural community.
"There have been times where I have felt like I'm going into a battle zone driving that road," Mrs Jones said.
"In the bus I wouldn't go any more than 60km an hour on that gravel - it can be right down to crawling along at 10kmh in places.
"One of our main issues is not just the road, but the intensity of the traffic.
"We've had recently, road trains carting coal wagons on the back of trucks heading south from Blackwater on that road."
A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the department had been "working closely" with the Rolleston State School P&C and the North Rolleston School Bus Association in relation to the road.
"Following a request from the school bus association, we reviewed all school bus stop signs on this route and will install new signs at 10 additional locations before the 2015 school year," he said.
"In addition, more than $200,000 has been spent on the Blackwater-Rolleston Rd since May this year on gravel and maintenance grading works."
But Mrs Jones said it was not good enough.
"We are all running farm businesses, dealing with the drought as well as this," she said.
"I mean, we don't expect a motorway - but we can't even get maintenance on the road."
The TMR spokesman said money was being spent on the road.
"Recently, additional funding of $125,000 has been allocated for further gravel and grading works on Blackwater-Rolleston Rd," he said.
"(The) Central Highlands Regional Council will deliver these works on behalf of TMR."
Mrs Jones said there had been times where parents had considered the safety of the road and contemplated stopping the bus run.
"If that happens, well what happens is either the kids don't go to school, which is a major issue for the school, and/or parents then are running their kids to school which is increasing the traffic load anyway, so it's a double-edged sword."
Mrs Jones said for people who didn't have to travel the road daily, it was less of an issue.
"We've been fighting for these upgrades for a long time," she said.
"I'm travelling on that road just about every day, and it does affect your morale.
"It's just depressing sometimes, knowing you have to go out and face it."