City’s unpaid E-ZPass account prompted Nickel Bridge investigation

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RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- It is a story that school board member Kim Gray said she was "grateful" CBS 6 uncovered.

According to sixteen-year-old student Khalil Walker, several weeks ago his school bus was stopped on the Nickel Bridge in Richmond because the E-Zpass was not paid.

"It is embarrassing we couldn't go through," Walker said. "My bus had to back up and the driver had to pay the toll with their money."

Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden  confirmed to CBS 6 that the invoice for the E-Zpass was a couple days late and that it has since been paid.

However that is just the beginning, as CBS 6 uncovered.

The Richmond Metropolitan Authority informed Dr. Bedden that school buses are not allowed on the Nickel Bridge in the first place.

According to signs located outside the Nickel Bridge, the weight limit to travel on the bridge 7,500 pounds per vehicle.

VDOT engineers told CBS 6 the average weight for a fully-loaded bus is around 26,000 pounds.

"This is very discouraging," Gray said in an interview Wednesday. "I have seen buses go over the bridge all the time," she added.

Dr. Bedden said investigations have been launched into both incidents. He said he views the Nickel Bridge bus driving incident as a cause for terminating employment.

RMA did not return phone calls regarding its policies for enforcing weight limits on the Nickel Bridge.


  • Not RPS

    I do not believe school bus drivers plan the bus routes at the beginning of the school year. A school administrator does that. If you investigate further, WTVR, then I believe you will find that RPS administration planned the Nickel Bridge as the quickest and most fuel efficient route. Whoever planned the route should be disciplined, along with the toll operator.

  • thetazva

    The toll operator should be disciplined? For what?? The Bus driver should be charged for violating the law, it is clearly posted what the weight limit is and the driver is ultimately responsible for his/her actions while behind the wheel. That being said if the School administration is responsible for the routes then they should be disciplined as well. This is ridiculous, but sadly business as usual in the City.

    • NOT RPS

      I checked Google Street View. My guess is the bus enters the bridge from the south side. The weight limit sign is not posted until you reach the threshold of the bridge itself. There are “no truck” signs at the intersection before the road where you enter to drive down to the bridge. Any CDL driver should know what those signs mean. Unfortunately, once the bus drives across the bridge from the south side, there is nothing the toll operator can do…except report the bus to RMA so appropriate action can be taken to prevent school buses from crossing again. Apparently, this never happened; ergo, the toll operator(s) should be disciplined; the bus drivers should be disciplined; and the route planner(s) should be disciplined.

  • Ron Melancon

    Hey Mr.Mayor you can’t even run a school system how are you running a city? While you been focused on the Nutty Baseball Stadium you have leaking roofs, falling apart school buses and then place children at risk with overloaded bus on a bridge and you can’t Evan pay EZPass

    • Aaron

      Yeah, I’m sure it’s the Mayor’s job to pay the EZPass accounts, determine school bus routes, and train bus drivers. Let’s try to stick to reality here.

      • athynz

        The mayor is in charge of the city, the school bus in question is one owned and operated by the city schools – IOW the buck is supposed to stop with the mayor. However while the mayor is ultimately responsible for the city the day to day operation issues should fall under the departmental umbrellas – in this case the school system superintendent and the RMA. If neither one of those entities does something then it’s up to Jones. Got it?

  • grundlemonster

    Just an idea, why not allow school buses and public transportation (buses) to use toll roads without having to pay tolls?

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