PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Thursday marked the first day of school for many students, including those in St. Johns County.
It also marked the first day for new traffic signals, located at US 1 and Ray Road near Nease High School. It's an area that has seen its fair share of dangerous and even deadly crashes in recent years.
Nease senior Victoria Guimaraes remembers what happened at Ray and US 1 last school year, when two Nease students were seriously injured in a car crash. The crash sparked a public outcry from the community, even a fundraising effort to add a traffic signal to the intersection.
After coordination between The Florida Department of Transportation, Nease High and St. Johns County Engineers, the project to add the signal began in May. The lights were up and running Aug. 3.
"I think it's going to prevent a lot of car crashes because there are a lot," Nease senior Shannon Cotter said.
Shannon Cotter used to make U-turns instead of turning left because she felt so unsafe. For her, added safety adds added convenience.
"It's just going to help me get home easier so I can make the left hand turn and not waste extra time," Cotter said.
"I think it's really helpful because there were a lot of accidents and I don't think it was very safe. I mean, even my parents hated the intersection," said Nease senior Garrett Quener.
Not everything is perfect with these signals, several students said there were issues with the timing of the signals.