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Snow Shuts Down Schools But DTA Still Runs

Updated: 12/04/2013 9:37 AM
Created: 12/03/2013 11:04 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The snow storm parked many Northland school buses on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the Duluth Transit Authority said city buses will keep on rolling.

As of Tuesday night, 38 schools and colleges made the call to remain closed on Wednesday. An updated list of closings can be found here

A foot of snow fell in areas of Duluth, but 42 DTA buses were still on schedule Tuesday night according to General Manager Dennis Jensen.

“Right now everything is great. Of course things change by the hour here. We anticipate that we'll be operating service tomorrow morning without too many difficulties,” Jensen said.

He said the additional foot of snow expected overnight and through Wednesday would not slow them down. Jensen said it is usually other traffic that gets in the way.

“The buses can do very well on the hill so long as they can keep moving, but when they stop for cars that are also stopped then it's a little difficult sometimes to get them moving when it's icy,” Jensen said.

He said keeping the routes moving is an important job.

“We receive a lot of reports that businesses stay open as long as the DTA is running. So we take that responsibility very seriously,” Jensen said.

However, a couple DTA routes, 13-U and 18, will be suspended on Wednesday because UMD will be closed. Jensen said the routes focus on student housing on Rice Lake Road and wouldn't have any passengers with the closure.

If the snow overwhelms the DTA Jensen said riders will get a notice 2 hours before buses hit the garage.

The DTA buses may keep rolling, but Duluth school buses were parked on Tuesday and will stay parked on Wednesday. Duluth Superintendent Bill Gronseth said closing school is a tough decision.

“You know it is one of the toughest decisions that I make as a superintendent, believe it or not. Partially because it happens at a quarter to five in the morning,” Gronseth said.

He said talking with transportation officials and the National Weather Service factors into his decision, but employees also get out to check road conditions.

“We actually have to get out and drive. We have people that drive out to the country, and driving up and down the hills, making sure that all areas of our city are safe for travel for getting the kids to school,” Gronseth said.

With safety in mind schools across the Northland are closing before the storm hits with round two on Wednesday. For a full list of school closings click here.

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