Every year, the first day of school is the worst day of traffic in Lee County. Today, was no exception. Traffic on U.S. 19 was backed up for well over a mile, with car after car packed with excited students. Only one thing is more memorable than the first day of school--the unforgettable traffic getting there.
Dot Aines, driving her great granddaughter to school, says "I'm taking her to school and I didn't expect this, its OK." Vehicles coming into Leesburg on U.S. 19 backed up more than a mile, and parents say they were not expecting this much traffic. Dee Crout, a mom of two, says, "Absolutely not and we've missed the bus so we have two children late not just one, maybe tomorrow will be better."
Leesburg Police Chief Charlie Moore says, "The first two days are like this." Moore was up early this morning, knowing full well traffic was going to be brutal. Moore describes it as "chaos" and says, "This is the intersection to three of the schools and that is why we have three different officers directing traffic. This is how people come in and out of the schools"
And, with many parents driving their children on the first day, streets were congested. Ed Rynders, who is running for the District 137 State House seat, also came out early this morning, sensing an invaluable opportunity to come in contact with lots of voters. Rynders says, "Unfortunately it bottlenecks but for a politician its good news to get to meet and greet people."
Even with the traffic, most people kept a smile on their face, and all the students did get to school. Just the police will pay the price for a long morning of directing traffic. Chief Moore says his arms are, "Sore, I need some Ben Gay." And with Monday expected to be a repeat, the cops will no doubt be resting up over the weekend.
Children were not penalized for being late today. At Lee County Middle School, teachers held off calling the roll until the students arrived.
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