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Beachside High School delays start time due to traffic problem

ST. JOHNS COUNTY. Fla. — St. Johns County is stepping in to fix a traffic problem that has forced a high school to set back its start time for students.

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Beachside High School announced last week, that starting tomorrow morning (Sept. 5), school will begin 15 minutes later.

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Raushan Simmons is a parent who drops his child off at Pines Academy every day. He is stuck in traffic every morning. He says this won’t change much.

“It’s just going to create even more of a backlog so it’s not going to do anything,” Simmons said.

St. Johns County leaders say this traffic mess at Beachside High stems from a developer dropping the ball in widening County Road 210 from two lanes to four lanes.

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A county spokesperson said in an emailed statement quote, “The Board of County Commissioners was incredibly disappointed in the developer for its failure to fulfill its development order obligations and exceedingly concerned about the road safety and the traffic condition of the unwidened area of CR210.”

Because of the Twin Creek Developer’s failure to complete the road project, the county says thousands of students and families are dealing with the consequences. Catherine Vanskike and Natalie Dziergowski are sophomores at Beachside High School who are affected by this.

“It’s almost a 50-minute drive, and I live 11 minutes away,” Dziergowski said.

“My bus gets there at 8:30, and we probably get there at 9:20,” Vanskike said. “And we’re not -- I’m not that far, like probably about 10 minutes, 15 minutes, max.”

Last week, the county stepped in to shift the traffic patterns and help alleviate some of the congestion.

But it didn’t help much. So, the Beachside High School principal said in an email to student’s families, the school is forced to push back the start time from 9:20 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.

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Dziergowski and Vanskike say this will affect their work and after-school activities.

“It’s just hard because now I have to push back when I get to work and getting to work,” Dziergowski said.

A county spokesperson said, “The Developer will not get away with its development obligation.”

In an email to Action News Jax, the county attorney’s office will also be taking legal action against Twin Creek Developer.

The county is now adding, “traffic control at the intersection of the bottleneck but also directed a signalization project expedited at Cumberland Park road and CR210.”

Simmons says he has little faith in the county.

“I mean, even waiting on the county or the state to do something, lord knows how long that’ll take,” Simmons said.

The county says it will take over construction, but the developer will still “be held accountable for the costs.”

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The project will be bid by September with a completion date estimated to be 18 months from the date of the bid award.

When Action News Jax reached out to the developer’s president, he vigorously disputed this claim that the county made and said he plans to provide proof of this very soon.

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