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."