BELLE — The Maries County R-2 School District has informed families who will be affected by extended bus rides about alternative routes that will begin Nov. 27 in conjunction with the …
BELLE — The Maries County R-2 School District has informed families who will be affected by extended bus rides about alternative routes that will begin Nov. 27 in conjunction with the Dry Fork Creek bridge replacement project.
Superintendent Dr. Lenice Basham said on Tuesday morning that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced its subcontractor Capital Paving is scheduled to start the 144-day project next week. The Dry Fork Creek Bridge is a primary crossing for two of the district’s furthest-running bus routes.
“The bridge out will affect two of our bus routes — Buses 1 and 8,” she said. “Bus 1 will be 10 minutes earlier in the morning and 10 minutes later in the afternoon. It is our furthest route. Bus 8 will depend on where they are on the route. High Gate riders will get home earlier and others will get home later.”
Basham said because of the change in route, students who live on the county roads will be most affected.
“Students on County Roads 426, 424, 409, and Peterson Road will arrive home later than normal,” she said. “If you have any questions, please contact Tony Gieck at 573-859-3800 extension 1600. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.”
The Rolla Technical Institute (RTI) students will be affected, though accommodations are minimal.
“The other route is the RTI bus that goes to Rolla every day,” Basham said. “They think they can leave at the same time because they get there early. It will not impact their instruction time.”
The Dry Fork Creek bridge is approximately 2.6 miles south of Belle. The project, which was originally scheduled to begin in May 2023 and conclude in August 2023, includes the complete removal and replacement of the deck of the State Highway 28 bridge. The school district had declined to offer 2023 summer school transportation because of its expectation that the project would start.
“I think some parents will pull their kids off the routes, but we are not sure how many it will affect yet,” Basham said. “We understand this is going to be an inconvenience for parents and appreciate their understanding and cooperation. For the whole community, this will be inconvenient. For those who have to cross the Dry Fork, it will take some time to understand what the impact will be.”
The project is scheduled to be completed by April 17, 2024.