ALERT: Avoid Interstate 95 in Hanover during rush hour

RMA promises new signs as superindentent promises to hold school bus drivers accountable

RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond Metropolitan Authority has promised to add new signs to the Boulevard Bridge (also known as the Nickel Bridge) as a result of a CBS 6 News investigation.

CBS 6 investigation broke the news of Richmond Public School buses using the Nickel Bridge to transport students after discovering an E-Zpass bill was never paid. School buses weigh nearly 10 tons more than the bridge’s 7,500 pound-per-vehicle limit.

Bridge 01

CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George sat down with Superintendent  Dr. Dana Bedden to address what was being done to prevent incidents like this from happening again.

“When do you  ultimately become accountable?” St. George asked.

“I think I am accountable now,” Bedden responded.

“It is all about safety.  We can’t be in that much of a hurry that we want to take that risk,” Bedden added.

Bridge 03

Joe St. George sat down with Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden.

Bedden said an investigation is underway to determine which drivers were at fault – emphasizing  he believed the incident is grounds for termination of employment.

“How long do you believe the bus was going over the bridge?”  St. George pressed.

“I have no idea – until you contacted me I had no idea this was happening,” Bedden said.

The responsibility for bus route safety falls on RPS’ transportation director.  Bedden said the position is currently vacant but that a former Chesterfield employee will be taking over shortly.

During the interview with St. George, Bedden hinted that while his drivers are at fault – larger signage could be beneficial to drivers  who use the bridge.

Bridge 02

Apparently, the RMA agreed.

“RMA places the highest priority on the safety of the drivers and passengers on all of our roadways, including our bridges,” the organization said in a statement. “As such, where applicable, we post weight limit signs in both directions on our bridges.  Given that the Boulevard Bridge is nearly 100 years old, the RMA has clearly-marked signs at both ends of the Boulevard Bridge noting the applicable vehicle weight restrictions.  This signage also includes a visual graphic prohibiting truck traffic on the Bridge.  To underscore RMA’s commitment to safety, we will add a second visual graphic on both ends of the Boulevard Bridge specifically noting that school bus traffic is prohibited on the Bridge.  We expect the drivers on our roadways and bridges to exercise responsibility in observing all posted requirements, whether they relate to weight limitations, speed limits or any other traffic restrictions. “

As for Dr. Bedden – he said the delayed E-Zpass bill was the result of new staffers – staffers that have since been trained and are now part of solution to address issues when they occur head on.

“We can’t shy away from factual stuff we need to improve,” Bedden added.

7 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    If the drivers can’t read and they choose to put children in danger than who is going to get fired? Nobody in Government ever gets fired it seems. Just look at the VA scandal

  • R Moffett

    Bedden’s comments and foregone conclusion are typical political speak, disappointing, and fail to consider all the relevant factors. Certainly individual drivers should bear some responsibility, but placing all the blame on them ignores several crucial factors. Even Bedden admits larger weight-limit signs are needed – with the many severe distraction created by students on buses I observe passing through the Forest Hill – Westover Hills areas, it is somewhat miraculous that drivers can keep the buses under control and ‘between the ditches’. Secondly, drivers do not choose their routes and most probably lack the authority to change them, the RPS Administration does; If the position responsible for that function is vacant the responsibility belongs to the higher level manager to whom that vacant position reports (even if it is the Superintendent). Thirdly, someone in the RPS Administration approved purchasing EZ-passes – surely, if they had been diligent, the purchase should have considered analysis of why they were needed including the route to which particular buses are assigned.. Finally, given the apparently adversarial relationships that have existed between administrators at all levels and employees, one can reasonably believe that whether the driver reported the planned route included a bridge with weight limits lower than the weight of the bus; it is likely that driver would have been ignored, threatened, or subject to ridicule

    First the driver is simply scapegoating – drivers should receive some admonition; if anyone, it is those who control the routes that should be terminated for dereliction of duty. The School Board needs to be actively involved in the resolution of this problem – Now!!!

    • R Moffett

      The last paragraph in my earlier comment should have read: “First, blaming the driver is simply scapegoating -…”

  • Becky

    Mo BULL. Everyone has a “Boss”. It has become SOP/MO Party Governance for these bosses to run, hide, escape, and evade, their inherent job description responsibilities and accountabilities, by Blaming a customary lower level scapegoat. Permeates Party from local, state, and federal levels.
    Cited: Cabinet level Secretary of Veterans Affairs directly under President of the US in the
    Chain of Command, with all out Power, Command, and Control. With much power comes
    Great Responsibility. HA! Not Transparent anymore.

  • Jim

    While the drivers who crossed the bridge are quilty. I can see how they might think they were suppose to ignore the signs since a more senior government employee told them to go that way and the toll attendants let them go through.

  • Karen

    If the bill had been paid in a timely manner the bus drivers wouldn’t have needed to take the alternate route. They were just trying to get the kids to school. The city fix for anything is point your finger at someone else they never take responsibility for their own actions or lack of. Blame the bus driver for trying to do their job; really?

  • isso

    Positively Richmond Executive Leadership Skills and Problem Solving: Put up more and bigger
    signs for those that drove right on past them every day. Pretend that management is not
    responsible for and does not actually have to manage anything under their job descriptions.
    PC easy.

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