Wrong decision strands 12 buses on icy highways

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School delay of at least one hour might have prevented much angst

The English Language School Board is likely regretting its decision Friday morning to allow buses out on roads that were icy, treacherous and in the final analysis, downright dangerous. There were 12 buses which required assistance, some with school children on board, following a storm which struck overnight Thursday with a mixed bag of precipitation.

The board is blaming a heavy rain at approximately 7 a.m. Friday which washed away salt and sand that had been spread on roads. Salting and sanding operations couldn’t  be repeated in time to be effective as buses were already starting their routes.

Even before that cloudburst, most roads In western P.E.I. were icy and snow covered while secondary roads  in central and eastern sections were slushy and main roads were affected by casual water.

The right decision was to delay opening by an hour from the onset and not roll the dice on road conditions. The one hour delay is standard procedure in the event of bad weather and gives officials more time to properly assess the situation. The extra hour might also have allowed road conditions to improve and prevent any buses from being stranded.

Had that right decision be made from the start then officials would have had time to react to the 7 a.m. cloudburst.

It remains unclear how a decision was made earlier that morning to start school on time. Road reports from western P.E.I.had to be ominous. Hilly sections of highway were still treacherous most of Friday with police closing a section of road in the St. Catherine’s area until late in the day.

The fact that 12 buses got into trouble, mostly from sliding into deep snow at the edge of dirt roads or getting stuck on ice in their turning locations, proves an error was made.

It is fortunate no one was hurt and no vehicles sustained damage. It’s also a lesson to be learned in the future for similar situations. School is delayed or cancelled because of snow conditions and the same situation must also apply to road conditions.

Organizations: English Language School Board

Geographic location: P.E.I., P.E.I.had

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