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Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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30-foot-deep hole opens in road at Holiday subdivision

— A 30-foot-deep hole that opened up in a street Wednesday night blocked the main access road for residents in part of a Holiday subdivision, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

The 20-by-20-foot hole has closed Blue Marlin Boulevard at Parrot Fish Drive in the Gulfwinds subdivision.

Doug Tobin, a spokesman for Pasco County government, said this morning that an engineering firm, PSI Engineering, is determining whether a sinkhole or some other cause led to the road collapse. The county water department checked the hole and did not see any evidence that a storm water issue might have caused the hole, he said.

Until an engineer’s report is complete the county is classifying the hole as sub-surface anomaly or ground depression, and it appears to be stabilized, he said. The hole did not appear to grow during the day, he said this afternoon.

“Could it grow?” Tobin said. “It certainly could grow. We’ve seen it in the past where depressions have grown. But we believe right now that’s where it’s contained to.”

Tobin said it could be as much as a week before any repair efforts start.

“You don’t want to go in filling in dirt until you understand what the problem is,” he said.

The road is a private road with public access, so it’s unclear whether the county or the homeowners association would pay for the repair, Tobin said.

Vernon June, president of the Gulfwinds homeowners association, said Thursday morning that he believes the collapse is the result of a road failure, not a sinkhole. He said residents for some time have complained to the developer, Beazer Homes, about substandard street construction, such as cracking and drainage problems.

“Every manhole is cracking up like that,” June said, pointing to a manhole cover with a crack around it a little south of the hole.

The homeowners association had an engineering study conducted and gave the developer a list of concerns, June said.

A representative for Beazer Homes could not be reached for comment.

Blue Marlin Boulevard exits the Gulfwinds subdivision only at Anclote Boulevard to the south, and dead-ends at the north end.

An emergency cut-through has been set up for trapped residents using a pedestrian path from Swordfish Avenue to Sweetbriar Drive. The cut-through allows access to neighborhood schools Anclote High, Paul R. Smith Middle and Gulfside Elementary.

Tobin said the county is urging residents who use the emergency exit to use caution, especially when students are walking to and from school.

Danny Rowland, who lives on a street about a block south of the hole, said the street problems in Gulfwinds come up routinely at homeowners association meetings, but seeing a section of the road collapse was still a surprise.

“I don’t think anyone expected that,” he said. “I’m glad it’s not someone’s house.”

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