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Viaduct closure alters bus routes for Danville, Boyle County

August 11, 2003|GARY MOYERS

School opens Tuesday for Boyle County and Danville students, bringing the usual array of opening day confusion.

This year, however, there's an additional complicating factor with the closure of the viaduct on Perryville Road until Sept. 1.

The main campus for the Boyle County school system, which includes Boyle County High, Boyle County Middle and Woodlawn Elementary schools, on Perryville Road is expected to be impacted in a big way by the closure, according to school Communications Director Paul Elwyn.

"We've had to reroute some buses, of course, and we're expecting parents who drive their children to school to run into some delays with detours and increased traffic flow," said Elwyn.

"It's going to be difficult for everyone. Everyone driving here should be prepared to allow extra time because of the expected traffic congestion."

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The viaduct has been closed since June for renovation and repair, forcing traffic on the west side of Danville to detour either down Fourth Street to the bypass or to travel north along Maple Avenue, forcing many to make a left turn onto the bypass. The congestion caused by the detours is a major concern for Elwyn.

"We have rerouted as many buses as we can to drive in from the south side of town," said Elwyn. "But we still have three buses who will be forced to come in from the Maple Avenue side. We are considering using the cutoff to (Ky.) 33 as an alternative, but that decision hasn't been made yet."

Police paying extra attention to Maple, Lannock

Danville Assistant Police Chief Jay Newell said police are already paying extra attention to the Maple Avenue and Lannock Drive routes to the bypass because of increased traffic flow in those areas. Police have increased their visibility in that area since the viaduct closed.

Boyle Director of Student Support Mike Pittman said police have agreed to provide extra assistance at Boyle County's main campus during morning and afternoon peak traffic times.

"They always provide an officer during normal times, but this year they plan to be out here with an increased presence to help control the traffic flow," he said. "There will be the usual officers available, but the police have assured me they plan to have extra patrols in the area, ready to jump in and help should there be problems."

Chuck Stallard, director of pupil personnel for the Danville school system, said his system has not requested additional police presence at Toliver Elementary on Maple Avenue near the viaduct or the other schools in town.

"We expect the closure to impact us in two distinct ways: our bus transportation and the traffic flow encountered by parents and student drivers," he said. "As for our buses, we have rerouted so that only one bus will be coming into west Danville, and it will be running earlier than usual. As for the parents and student drivers, we're just advising them to allow themselves enough time to get where they need to be."

Stallard said parents were notified at open houses and registration about the bus route changes.

No way to predict what traffic problems might arise

The confusing part, Pittman said, is there is no way to predict what traffic problems might arise.

"We don't really know what to expect until we open Tuesday and see the problems," said Pittman. "It's confusing the first few days anyway because some parents like to drive their children the first day or two, so it really takes a couple of days to sort out what the normal traffic flow will be."

As for advice to parents and students who plan to drive to school, Pittman advised caution.

"People need to leave early," he said. "This is just a Mike Pittman guess, but I'd estimate 20-minute delays will be average, until this gets sorted out. And if you have to turn left onto the bypass from Maple Avenue, it might be even longer."

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