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Ground Depressions Damage Orlando Area Roads

State Road 429 in central Florida / Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
State Road 429 in central Florida / Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Repairs could takes weeks after two depressions were reported in the Orlando area, causing damage to local infrastructure.

The first reported depression, 4 inches deep and 20 feet long, was spotted on State Road 429. Crews working on road resurfacing projects spotted the depression by the Independence Toll Plaza near Winter Garden. Authorities closed two lanes damaged by the depression and rerouted traffic.

The depression at State Road 429 caused major delays after the two lanes closed, but crews were able to open one lane Wednesday night.

The other lane, however, is still closed as authorities noted open cavity one hundred feet underground, which will slow down road repairs.

“This is going to be a long term situation while we work to make repairs to that area,” said Bryan Hutchings, Senior Communications Specialist for Central Florida Expressway. “We are talking not days, but weeks before we’re able to get back to normal.”

The second depression was reported in a residential area of Apopka.

Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Ashley Gipson said authorities received a call at 8:24 pm with reports of a sinkhole, and after arriving at the scene it was determined that it was a ground depression 8 feet deep with a 12 feet radius.

After initial talks of evacuation, the family decided to stay home and authorities instructed them to monitor the depression and contact them if they noticed any changes.

The area also reported two sinkholes last month by Kelly Park Road.

Dr. Manoj Chopra, professor of engineering at the University of Central Florida, says all of Central Florida has a specific type of geology that makes sinkholes and ground depressions very common in the region.

Chopra also said that Hurricane Irma improved the chances of these conditions to appear.

“When we get a storm, there’s a large amount of water on the surface that goes into the ground and it causes very high pressure,” he said. “And that pressure causes the water and the soil on top of it to go through the cracks in the rock which causes cavities to form.”