Alternative school bus route in the works

Students on Twin Bridges schools’ Bus Route 2 will have slightly altered pickup and drop-off locations and route to school in order to avoid infringing on Sheridan Schools’ neighboring district.

Sheridan School’s Board of Trustees approved a motion halting Twin Bridges’ pickup of students in the Sheridan district at the board’s meeting earlier this month. The board made the decision after years of a verbal agreement between the two districts allowed the disputed Twin Bridges bus route to pick up students in the Sheridan district.

Now, Twin Bridges’ buses can still travel through and turn around in the Sheridan district but will need to pick up students at an approved location in the Twin Bridges district.  Twin Bridges Superintendent Chad Johnson said this was the second option he provided to the Sheridan board.

“I believe they could have provided many of their own options,” Johnson said.

The route of concern currently runs the full length of Tuke Lane, which lies off of Highway 287 between the two communities. About half of the road is in the Twin Bridges district and the other half in the Sheridan district.

Johnson told his board of trustees that he was aware of five full stops outside of the Twin Bridges district. He added that three to four parents’ cars park and wait for the bus in morning and evening on Tuke Lane. Johnson presented an alternate route to the Madison County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting. The new route has a pickup and drop-off spot on Tuke Lane near some railroad tracks. Johnson said the location has room for the bus to pull alongside and room for one or two cars, but more room could be made with agreement and some work by the county.

“We wouldn’t even touch Sheridan school district,” Johnson said. “ Sheridan felt the need for change and we’re willing to respect the request.”

Commissioner Dave Schulz suggested that Sheridan may also want to utilize the proposed stop area. He agreed with Johnson’s suggestion of making minor adjustments to the proposed location, which would likely be as simple as removing one section of railroad tracks and filling in gravel to the south and west. Schulz estimated that it would take a week to 10 days to clean up the area and it would require four or five loads of material.

Another stop on the route will be further west down the highway near mile marker 38 on Highway 287. The bus would pull clear off highway there.
Madison County Superintendent Melinda Legg said the two-plus weeks before the route becomes official should give families time to figure out what to do with their schedules. She will send out the new route information to the county transportation committee for approval while the clean up work is being done.

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