Busing students at the proposed Westborough Woods housing project on Route 9 would cost Westborough $51,000, plus fuel costs, School Superintendent Marianne O'Connor told the school committee Wednesday night.
School board member Jody Hensley said the 250-unit affordable housing complex at 346 Turnpike Road would require "an entirely new bus route."
"It would mean busing kids up and down Route 9 to get them in and out of that development three times in the morning, three times in the afternoon, and late buses, and half-day Kindergarten," Hensley said.
Developer 346 Turnpike Road LLC is seeking a comprehensive permit from the zoning board of appeals under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law.
The zoning board's public hearing on the request resumes at 7:30 p.m. March 25.
School officials have expressed concern for student safety because the site has just one access, from Route 9.
School buses would have to loop from Route 9 to the Route 20 cloverleaf in Northborough, school officials say.
Last month, town consultant Robert Nagi told the zoning board that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is “comfortable” with Westborough school buses traveling on Route 9 to serve Westborough Woods.
Hensley said she and O'Connor recently rode a school bus to and from the site.
"We can barely make that bus run in 30 minutes," Hensley said, and if one were to "add traffic to the equation, I'm not sure that we can complete that bus ride in 30 minutes."
O'Connor said the Northborough and Shrewsbury schools also use the cloverleaf.
Hensley said that "we have a school policy of avoiding Route 9."
"Our bus contractor has been consistent with that," she said.