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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Spring Hill sinkhole report finds potential void beneath surface

— Hernando County officials will continue to monitor a residential area in Spring Hill where a large sinkhole opened last month, despite an engineering report that recommends firming up the ground underneath due to a high possibility of a future occurrence.

A geo-technical report, prepared by Central Testing Laboratory, spent the past month assessing the intersection of Van Allen Way and Eldridge Road, where a 30-foot deep sinkhole led to the closure of the road and the abandonment of a home that threatened to be swallowed up by the void.

The report found a potential void 70 feet below the surface.

The “potential for additional migration of soil” at the site is high, the report said. To fix it and avoid future sinkholes, the study recommended pressure grouting “to seal the surface of the weathered limestone, to fill any remaining voids that may be present and to stabilize loose or raveled soil zones.”

But Brian Malmberg, assistant county administrator for operations, said in a memo that he suggests a monthly inspection of the area and reassessment if signs of future sinkhole conditions are evident.

“This is consistent with the county’s procedure for previously repaired roads,” Malmberg said in a letter to County Administrator Len Sossamon.

Based on previous grouting projects in the county, the engineer’s recommended treatment would cost the county $140,000 to $180,000, Malmberg said.

“Due to the immense cost to implement and no guarantee that additional subsidence won’t occur in the future, it is staff’s recommendation that the long-term repair recommendation not be acted upon at this time,” Malmberg wrote.

On July 21, the sinkhole opened at 9759 Eldridge Road, in front of, a home owned by Linda Fisher, who hurriedly packed her belongings after the county declared it unsafe.

The sinkhole grew to some 40 yards wide and 30 feet deep.

Hernando County hired a contractor to remove road debris, including chunks of pavement that had dropped into the void. Workers then filled the hole with a mixture of sand and concrete.

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