Road proves wrecker
THE Swanfels school bus run is becoming an expensive daily trip for Steve Rettke, with the business owner forking out more than $7000 in repairs for damage caused along the flood-damaged route.
Mr Rettke owns Warwick Charter Coaches and said the bus route, which begins at Yangan, travels along the worst roads he has ever seen.
“It has always been an average road and has never had a lot of maintenance but lately it has been really bad,” he said.
Mr Rettke said on two separate occasions just a week a part, the driver who travels that route slashed open a tyre on the same section of road.
The damage was caused by a rogue piece of bitumen, which was protruding up through the road after the surrounding surface had sunk.
“Since the start of school this year I have had three windscreens and two steer tyres wrecked,” he said.
Each damaged tyre costs the business owner $900, but that pales in comparison to the price of a new bus windscreen — coming in at a hefty $2000 apiece.
Mr Rettke said he would like to see council start repairs on the section of road but said he was not optimistic due to the large amount of work to be completed since the floods.
“Council are usually really good and they do fix things when it is brought to their attention,” Mr Rettke said.
“They have been out there cleaning drains but the road itself hasn't had any work done,” he said.
When the bus assigned to the Swanfels route returns at the end of the day, Mr Rettke always performs a close inspection to spot any damage that may have been caused during the trip.
Mr Rettke said the heavy damage is so bad he is having to consider alternate solutions including detours or ceasing that particular route.
A loss of the Swanfels bus route would have a huge impact on local families, with about 50 students from the district making the journey to school via that bus.
“I have three school runs and road-wise, this one is the worst — there are patches where the bitumen is totally gone,” he said.
“It's at the point where we may have to stop doing the school run because there is too much expense involved.
“The whole road really needs digging up and replacing.”