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Board of Supervisors asks bus drivers for input on turnarounds

Lincoln County supervisors want to add another level of authorization to applications for school bus turnarounds.

They want a bus driver’s signature before they’ll dump gravel.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors is granted limited authority in its discretion to repair and maintain private gravel roads or driveways if they are used for school bus turnarounds, according to the application available at the Lincoln County School District’s transportation office. However, the board cannot construct a new private road or driveway even if it will ultimately become a school bus turnaround.

District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown, acting as board president in District 1 Supervisor Jerry Wilson’s absence, said Monday that supervisors are being asked to create school bus turnarounds that likely won’t ever see a bus.

The law prohibits repair or maintenance of private roads more than 150 feet from the center line of a public road. Parents or guardians whose property is the last driveway on a route that a bus travels can apply for a school bus turnaround at the transportation office. They can also apply if a stop on the road threatens the safety of the bus occupants.

The transportation director reviews the application and physically inspects the location before signing approval. Then it goes to the Lincoln County School Board for approval and the superintendent’s signature.

From there it goes to the Board of Supervisors for final approval and a signature from the board president.

It’s at the supervisors’ discretion to maintain a bus turnaround.

“I’m not building no driveway,” District 3 Supervisor Nolan Brown said.

“A lot of times we still end up doing more than we want to and then we find out the bus isn’t going in there,” Brown said.

One school bus driver told Brown that a location he was considering would not be used.

“She told me, ‘I’ll never use that,’” he said.

That gave him the idea to request a signature from a school bus driver acknowledging the driveway would be used as a turnaround by that driver.

“If the bus driver that’s going to use that turnound would have to sign a sheet to say she is using it either part time or full time, then we’ll know that a bus turnaround is being used,” he said. “Some of these people are applying and just getting driveways fixed.”

Brown said the time and gravel involved for each turnaround can cost the county several hundred dollars.

Lincoln County School District Transportation Director Stacy Adcock said the process starts in his office with an application.

“We look at it and we can recommend it to the board,” he said.

Because applications must be renewed each year, he doesn’t always revisit a previously-approved turnaround.

“If it’s a place where every year they’ve turned one in, we don’t necessarily do that,” he said.

If it’s a new request by a homeowner or a driver, they’ll make a site visit.

“Then we’ll go out and look at it. And there are those situations where we do go out and check it out, at either the parents’ request or the bus driver’s request,” he said.

Adcock is in favor of letting the bus drivers have a say in the matter.

“I think the bus drivers will appreciate that,” he said.