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Indian Land, district plagued with heavy traffic woes at two schools

With the first day comes some usual growing pains, but Lancaster County Schools knew they would have some problems before school even started, especially in Indian Land.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:14 PM EDT
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INDIAN LAND, S.C. (WBTV) - Monday was the first day of school for all of South Carolina school districts in the WBTV viewing area.

It was a successful start to the school year at the new Indian Land High school as both students and parents are eager for the new year.

”It’s an amazing feeling the kids going back to school so we’re really excited for the kids going back to school,” says parent Paul Harnisth.

Part of that excitement was walking into a brand new multi-million dollar building that was years in the making.

”It’s a beautiful school it almost looks like a university,” he says. “The colors are great and we are really liking it.”

With the first day comes some usual growing pains, but Lancaster County Schools knew they would have some problems before school even started, especially in Indian Land.

The bus system was the root of many of those issues. The district transportation director says they have had a list of problems leading up to the first day that has left them stretched thin.

The director says they have five bus drivers out due to medical reasons he could not expand on because of privacy, but that has left the district with only 10 drivers for the first two weeks of school. He says that is half of what is needed to serve this community.

The director says they have several future drivers training right now that will be ready in two weeks. He also says they expect those gone for medical reasons to bounce back by then.

”We’re concerned a little bit about that but we are trying to make it work with what they have. They are working around the schedule, so I hope everything works out fine in the end,” he says.

The bus problem is not only affecting bus riders. It caused the district to ask Indian Land parents to drive students to school. This created a massive problem that was so bad, it is getting changed tomorrow.

Kristel Acevedo was stuck in the long line of traffic on Monday morning.

”Despite leaving 40 minutes early we were sitting in traffic for more than an hour,” says Acevedo.

Acevedo was trying to get her kids to a school only five minutes away from her neighborhood, but the new traffic pattern left her and many other parents in a standstill.

”I was just trying to reassure him and try not to appear frustrated even though I was very frustrated,” she explains.

The frustration carried over into the afternoon as highway 521 once again looked like a mess.

”It just didn’t feel like it was organized in a good way,” she says.

The traffic jam did not go unnoticed. The district transportation director sent a message out saying the schools would go back to its previous traffic pattern.

It said the new traffic pattern was causing traffic to be backed up for too long. However, for Acevedo, the damage might already be done as she weighs her options for student drop off.

”Kind of taking it day by day to see how it goes,” she says.

Other than the traffic nightmare that was created from this new traffic pattern, the district says it wanted to change it because they were afraid emergency vehicles would not be able to make it to the schools.

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