Depression on SR 429 adds to sinkhole concerns in Apopka

- Just days after two sinkholes opened in a nearby Apopka neighborhood, crews spent an entire day dealing with another sinking matter on State Road 429.

On Friday morning, crews closed the northbound lanes of SR 429 in Apopka and shifted traffic to the shoulder in order to fix a depression that appeared in the roadway. Crews with the Central Florida Expressway said they’ve been thoroughly checking all of their roads since Hurricane Irma to see if the rains from the storm caused any problems like this one.

"Right now if we didn't do anything it could turn into something worse, but we're taking these aggressive actions,” said Expressway representative Brian Hutchings.

While the depression was far from a total sinkhole, it's appearance so close to those nearby holes did put tension back into some neighbors on Friday.

Sinkholes opened in a single neighborhood nearby, and one even swallowed a good portion of a home.  Experts say it’s not surprising this is happening after a major storm like Irma, and in this particular area.

"It's just part of being a, living in the lovely Sunshine State,” said Geologist David Wilshaw.

Wilshaw said the reason can be seen in the swollen lakes throughout the area, many of which, he points out, are very old sinkholes that became lakes over the ages.

"When we've got a lot of water into these lakes and generally into the ground it starts to soak down into the limestone, and that can trigger unstable ground,” said Wilshaw.

Wilshaw said much of Apopka and the surrounding areas do often contain that unstable ground. He said the soil contains a lot of cavities and caverns, especially near the Wekiwa Springs, that can collapse in extreme wet and extreme dry conditions. Sometimes it happens slowly over time, and other times it happens quickly like in the case of the recent sinkholes.

So will we see more? Wilshaw said it’s possible. 

In the coming weeks as the ground dries out slowly from Irma’s rains, he said there is a real chance more sinkholes or depressions could open.

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