Growing Sinkhole Threatens Homes

A giant sinkhole has devoured several acres of land and part of an Ohio highway.

The hole, estimated by the local fire chief to be the size of four football fields, swallowed up part of State Route 516 in Dover. The road will have to be closed for months while engineers determine the best way to make permanent repairs.

"I've worked for ODOT sixteen years and I've never seen anything of this magnitude," said Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 Director Lloyd McAdam. "It's very unusual that something like this would happen."

Hank Rutkowski, a mechanical engineer who works only a few hundred yards from the sinkhole, says a man who works in the same building was just about to drive where the sinkhole was rapidly forming.

"There was a car coming down this road right about at the end when it was still driveable," Rutkowski said.  "Mike started waving his arms to stop traffic. That person might have been lucky."

Engineers will continue inspecting the sinkhole and may eventually consider building a bridge over the affected area. ODOT's McAdam predicted it would be until 2013 that permanent repairs would be made.

"It's going to be a while before the road is open because this is a significant fix, and we're entering winter season where not a whole lot of construction can take place," he said.

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