OUACHITA PARISH, La (KTVE/KARD) — A bridge on Pine Bluff Road is under construction, causing parents and students to have to go out of their way to get to and from school by bus. This has parents frustrated with the situation.
Rachel Armfield, a concerned parent, explains the situation. “On the 21st of July, Mr. Clampit posted online that Pine Bluff Road would be closed due to the bridge being out, but there was no additional information that was given. When we realized that this wasn’t going to just be a couple of days where they were patching the bridge, they took the whole bridge out.”
The bridge being out causes transportation issues. The Ouachita Parish School Board’s solution was for parents to drop their children off at an abandoned gas station to be picked up by buses in the morning. Students would be allowed to stay after school at Pinecrest Elementary and Middle School until 5:00 pm for parents to take them home.
This solution isn’t the best, as some parents work schedules get in the way of the pick-up and drop-off times.
Armfield explained why this doesn’t work for some parents. “I have to leave at 5:50 in order to be able to get to my job on time in another parish where I teach; that’s not an option; that’s not a solution. Some parents in some households only have one parent that can drive, some people’s spouses work off, some people have one vehicle, some people don’t have a driver’s license, some people are disabled with children, and they can’t get their kids to school. What was going to be their response to those parents.”
Armfield and neighbors also received differing responses from DOTD on when the bridge repairs would be finished.