Snow drifted rural roads create unsafe transportation for College Community Schools

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — Last night and earlier today, the City of Cedar Rapids issued an advisory telling drivers to avoid roads on the SW side of town, due to unsafe driving conditions.

Today crews were back out on rural roads near the SW side of town, clearing out drifted snow banks and stranded cars.

“Some of our roads are good, some of our roads are mediocre, some of our roads we’re told not to go close to,” said College Community School’s Superintendent, Dough Wheeler. The district deciding to cancel classes today, after rural roads took a beating in last night’s 49 mph winds.

Cedar Rapids’ Streets Operations Manager, Mike Duffy said conditions were tough last night, “Places like Edgewood Road, 18th Street, 6th street were blown shut pretty frequently. We had a lot of equipment out there trying to keep those open.”

Some of the roads had gone from three lanes to two, as plows worked to push away the snow. Snow banks in some areas reaching more than 5 feet high. While other roads disappeared under huge snow drifts.

“This morning our situation was unique, south of highway 30 was just a different animal today,” said Wheeler.

The city warning drivers to stay away as they worked to clear the area, confirming the district’s call the cancel said Wheeler, “We do cover 137 square miles in 3 different counties, so conditions from one part of the district from the other can changes greatly. Also 4,000 of our students are bused. So that’s a huge consideration for us.”

Today marked the 10th cancellation or delay for the district but with 60% of the districts students living on rural roads, it’s safety first. To ensure more drivers don’t end up ditched, like the three stuck on 18th street today.

“Once people get stuck out in the road way, we can’t tow those out of the way so we’re having to go around them. That creates unsafe conditions for other motorist following our equipment,” said Duffy.

According to Superintendent Wheeler after spring break the district will add 20 minutes to the end of existing school days to make up for two days of lost classroom time. However, winter’s not over yet and the district still has two more days to make up, even with that time extension.

Wheeler also noted it’s been about 10 years since the district has seen this number of cancellations or delays. This year they had three snow days scheduled in, next year that’s increasing to four.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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