Danville Public Schools closed Thursday, assess road and bus stop conditions

Danville Public Schools closed Thursday, assess road and bus stop conditions (WSET)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- When snow falls, Danville Public Schools’ Transportation Services Department works around-the-clock to assess road conditions. Director Mike Adkins said there are a variety of factors they take into consideration while on the roads.

"We look at road conditions based on what we feel like is safe for a bus to travel,” Adkins said, “We look at conditions that impact a child's ability to get to the bus stop."

ABC13 rode along with Adkins to see how the department makes those determinations. Their school buses drive more than 2,400 miles per day on 11,000 streets throughout the city of Danville. While many of the major roads looked fine, others were covered by snow and ice. Some streets were so narrow, Adkins car had to pull over when other cars approached. Adkins said buses would have much more difficulty on those roads than a car.

"When we get conditions like we have right now where there is snow piled up from the snow plows, that greatly reduces the amount of turning radius that a bus would have to be able to turn from one street to another,” he said.

They also look at bus stops. There are more than 3,000 of bus stops throughout the city. Some of those stops don't yet have a clear path for children to walk on. Adkins said this could create a dangerous situation.

"When we look at our bus stops we look to see what the conditions are, is there ice there, is there snow piled up there,” he said.

The Transportation Department wants people to understand they take the decision to close schools very seriously. The safety of the students is their top priority.

"Sometimes people don't understand why we make the decisions that we do because they only see the roads in front of them but we have to look at the entire picture,” Adkins said.

After the transportation department assesses roads they send a recommendation to the superintendent. He makes the final decision using that information as well as recommendations from other departments. Since school is closed tomorrow, crews will be out to assess the roads for Friday.

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