Soft shoulder blamed for bus accident

Harry Sullivan
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Soft shoulder blamed for bus accident

STEWIACKE - Three students and a driver were taken to hospital in Truro after a school
bus went off the road near Stewiacke early Monday.
The bus was passing a farm tractor, which was hauling a manure spreader about 7:30 a.m., "and they went onto the soft shoulder of the road and the bus just tipped onto its side," said Carolyn Pierce, spokeswoman for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
Although specific details were not available regarding the individuals, RCMP Sergeant Al Affleck said none of the injuries were life threatening.
A total of 16 students were on board when the incident occurred on Fort Ellis Road. The remaining students were examined at the scene by Emergency Health Services staff and transported to school by a second bus.
Local farmer Curtis Moxsom, who owns the tractor that was being passed when the accident occurred, blamed the mishap on soft shoulders created by the way the road has been graded by the Department of Transportation Infrastructure Renewal Department.
"There's no gravel in the centre of the road," he said. "DoT is not grading the gravel from the sides of the road ... into the crown in the centre. They're plowing it into the ditch."
The result of that process, Moxsom said, is that it pushes gravel over the mud and spreads it flat to create a sort of false road edge that cannot bear a vehicle's weight.
However, Keith Rhyno, acting operations supervisor with the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department, disagreed and said the road, which was graded last Friday, was not the cause of the accident.
"That road was in excellent condition," Rhyno said.
"It's a gravel road. Gravel roads are going to be soft this time of year... That vehicle was too close to the shoulder of the road and (when) you put that much weight on the edge of the road, that's what is going to happen ... we can't help that."

Organizations: Central Regional School Board, Emergency Health Services, Department of Transportation Infrastructure Renewal Department

Geographic location: STEWIACKE, Truro, Chignecto Fort Ellis Road

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Recent comments

  • Mary
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Curtis is absolutely correct! It is the way the roads are graded that creates the soft shoulders.

  • Daniel
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Gravel roads are going to be soft this time of year... ??? I always thought they'd be softest in the spring after the snow melted and everthing thawed out. Think the Farmer hit the nail on the head and Rhyno is doing what all goverment employees do pass the buck and save their job! After all it's everyone else's fault but DOT is perfect!!! Just cause there was no potholes cause it was just graded doesn't mean it was in excellent condition!

  • Concerned
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    The Fort Ellis Road is a dirt road. It is about 2 km dead end road, ending at Mr. Moxsom's farm. My question is why was the bus driver passing on road that was that short in length? I believe that there should be more questions asked, regarding this incident. This is a very short distance to follow a tractor.... If it was a time factor, what if the road was icy? The driver is supposed to be a professional, driving a load of precious cargo, children. Extra care should be taken. Everyone driving is suppose to be aware of the road conditions. Spring and Fall road conditions for dirt roads are different than pavement. After all the rain that we have received this fall all dirt roads are the same, soft shoulders. Thank heavens no one was seriously hurt.

  • what did he mean
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Ok so DOT says he road is fine and that the roads are soft this time of the year and the wieght of the school bus was to heavey for the side of the raod. Also the road was graded last friday.So that being said the road is soft and the bus is to heavey for that road it must not be safe for that bus to be on that road. Just looking into the future what if a snow plow and the bus meet on this road it wont be safe to go close to the edge because the roads are soft and they may roll into the ditch. Thats a bus i want my children on .

  • disagree
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    i disagree mr .rhyno, i to live on a dirt road and the lack of care if any is pathetic.the only time anything is done is on election day or when ya get called by the mla.the care our taxes are paying for is quite sad and its sad to say this wont be the first accident as a result of something like this...where did you think the bus was to go mr rhyno,id almost bet things would be a different story if it was one of dot vehicles..im 100%with mr .moxom on this

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    If the shoulders of these roads aren't safe then they shouldn't be there. I know that sounds crazy but why have something there that you can't use / isn't safe? if the shoulder wasn't there then you wouldn't have a false sence of security and you'd know going off the 2 lane road is not an option.

    That said, does that sound right? No it doesn't - because it's not right. The shoulders on these roads need to be safe and if they are not then this should be addressed. I know this is would cost money but how much is a life worth?

  • Concerned
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    We are lucky noone was seriously hurt. Is there going to be a proper investigation?

    We cannot have school buses falling in ditches without knowing the cause.

  • Brian
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    My goodness people, how many of you have driven on dirt roads? It has rained alot and the roads are not frozen yet. What person is going to drive that close to the ditch anyway? Especially a bus with children on it. And, just for curiosity sake, was this tractor towing an oversized liquid manure spreader? I have followed several of those this summer and had a difficult time getting by them....how many of you readers have followed one? Oh yes, then try have the liquid manure spilling out the top and spraying all over your vehicle. I guess it's easier to blame the DOT, right?