Back to school: Transportation remains an issue

Students exit buses and enter Carey Ridge Elementary on the first day of school last year. (file photo)

Students exit buses and enter Carey Ridge Elementary on the first day of school last year. (file photo)

This will be the third consecutive year the district has faced construction on U.S. 31; however, it is the worst.

“Transportation remains an issue of how are we going to work around it,” Director of Business Nick Verhoff said.

The district’s transportation garage is located near Maple Glen Elementary School on Ind. 32. In order for buses to reach Washington Woods and Carey Ridge elementary schools and the intermediate, middle and high schools, they must cross U.S. 31 – which is under construction.

“(U.S.) 31 is what it is,” Verhoff said, saying alternative routes are being explored to avoid the intersection. “Our transportation people work very hard to keep buses on schedule and work around the construction.”

While the U.S. 31-Ind. 32 intersection will be an ongoing issue throughout the school year, the district is eyeing another problematic spot closer to two buildings.

Verhoff said the roundabout on Ind. 32 and Shamrock Boulevard will be under construction for 60 days this fall. Shamrock Boulevard is the main roadway into the district’s administration building and the middle and intermediate schools.

“We’ll have to bring buses all from the north and parents,” Verhoff said, adding that construction is likely to start in late August and continue to late October. “Parents at the intermediate school will have to find new routes.”

Verhoff said it has not been determined if a new temporary road will be created to assist with school traffic.

“We’ll be working around construction all year. What we are concerned about it the complete access for emergency vehicles,” he said.

Verhoff said all of the Westfield’s buses were recently inspected by the state and the district “passed with flying colors.”

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