School bus drivers being impacted by HWY 68 collapse, repairs
It's going to be around four weeks before repairs are finished and Highway 68 reopens after it collapsed due to heavy rain.
Closing the road has been a hassle for anyone who needs to get from Grandview to the rest of the county, including school bus drivers.
READ MORE | Repairs underway on HWY 68 in Rhea County
The Tennessee Department of Transportation excavated the area last week.
Contractors began stabilizing the side of the road Monday. It's not just these crews putting in the hours to get through this, though. Rhea County bus drivers have been working overtime to get students to and from school.
School bus drivers have been driving in circles to get students to school since Highway 68 collapsed.
Jerry Levengood, Director of Schools, says 204 students need rides off Grandview Mountain to the rest of the county.
"Through Cox Valley Road in Cumberland County, down Highway 70 into Rockwood, and then on 27 down to our schools," Levengood explained.
It takes about an hour each way instead of the normal 15 to 30-minute commute.
"They arrive about 15 to 20 minutes after school begins, and then they leave at the same time and the last ones are getting home about 5:00 pm," Levengood explained.
Schools are offering breakfast later in the morning and starting testing later than scheduled.
All the extra miles add to fuel costs and overtime pay, but Levengood says there's enough money in the budget to cover these situations. With only four weeks of school left, he's not worried.
"We know the route," Levengood added. "We know which way we would go. It's just very unfortunate that it's this length of time."
It's made for long days for students and bus drivers, but Levengood says they're all handling it well.
"It's all inconveniences but it can't be helped," Levengood said. "There's no sense fussing about it. we just do what we need to do."
T-DOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said after the road is stabilized, the crew will build a retaining wall and hopefully have the road back open in about a month.