Tipline: School Bus Slides Off Rutted Dirt Road

7:41 PM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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Cuba - Rushford Bus in Ditch

Clarksville, NY - Many of us may have concerns about potholes on local roads in the spring, but that concern goes much deeper for some residents of the community of Clarksville in Allegany County.

Some motorists must navigate deeply rutted dirt roads. That issue came up this past Tuesday as a Cuba-Rushford School bus carrying six elementary school children slid off the slick, heavily rutted dirt road known as Hamilton Hill Road and got stuck in a ditch. There were no injuries among the driver or six children but it did cause frustration for resident Steve Melton.

He contacted 2 On Your Side to voice those concerns.

Melton says: "There's no pre-maintenance done to these roads. It's a lot easier to put gravel down than it is to have a child killed or hurt on a bus. To me anyways."

Melton says he knows what he's talking about as a retired road supervisor in South Carolina. And now as a taxpayer he suggested pre-maintenance with a gravel base in the spring and summer to Town Supervisor Ron Truax and Highway Superintendent Rod Sisson.

Melton says: "The ideal road is to put a base down on a dirt road and then put your gravel down. Your base is bigger rock, keeps the gravel from falling. The thing about it is, we don't even have a base. But we would take just gravel."

Others point out a recent thaw produced a softer road with ruts. They also say the town does what it can with the road conditions.

The Cuba - Rushford school district had to have the bus winched out of the ditch. Superintendent Carlos Gildemeister also discussed the matter with town officials. Gildemeister says "We have 156 square miles and a lot of dirt roads. So when they get soft in the spring it can be more difficult to get a bus through."

On Thursday a crew from the Clarksville Highway Department did use a road grader to smooth out the ruts on Hamilton Hill Road. Workers also spread stones and gravel to help stabilize the road.



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