As the temperatures crept toward 90 degrees on Monday, High Springs Senior Police Officer Adam Joy held on to a cold drink as he tried to keep hundreds of cars safe at the corner of Poe Springs Road and US Highway 27/41.
With no traffic lights on the roads leading to Poe Springs and Ginnie Springs, it took the combined effort of Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), HSPD and Alachua Police Department to make sure vehicles coming and going from the springs did so safely.
“I started at 7 a.m.,” Joy said. “All day Saturday and Sunday people were still coming in from other states and they’re full,” he said about local springs.
“People don’t check, they just load up and say ‘come on let’s go’,” Joy said about the high number of drivers being told the parks were full causing them to move onto plan B.
Memorial Day weekend was the first time Poe Springs Park opened since closing last September. The park has 120 parking spots for vehicles and those filled up quickly according to Joy.
Alachua County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler spoke about the installation of a traffic signal at Tuesday’s BOCC Special Meeting.
“County Road 340 is flooded with people,” she said, and added that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) did a study last winter at that intersection but will return to do a study next month to determine if a traffic light will be installed.
Officer Joy said thousands and thousands of vehicles came through the corner while he was directing traffic.
The clerk working at the Shell gas station at that corner said business had been booming all weekend but Monday was by far the busiest. Every pump had a vehicle filling up.
“It’s the craziest day of the year so far,” he said.
FHP spokesperson Lt. Patrick Riordan said HSPD and APD handled most of the flow of cars.
“We had three troopers assigned to this detail on Saturday and Sunday,” Riordan stated.
“FHP was there at the request of High Springs PD with the intent to expedite the flow of traffic, enforce traffic violations and assist in any other way needed.”
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office was on standby, according to spokesperson Art Forgey.
“We had the Traffic Unit out for the weekend and they were going to work that area if necessary,” Forgey said.
“According to the deputies assigned to it, the area was saturated with High Springs PD, Alachua PD and Florida Highway Patrol. Therefore, we did not need to use any additional resources and our personnel schedules were not taxed.”