The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Thursday, 03 May 2018 12:28

 Ocean Pines Drive sinkhole: limited options for its restoration

Geotechnical studies showed that connecting the sinkhole to Lake Saxon or rebuilding the roadway with sheet piles driven underground are too risky.

It was on July 14, 2017, when a massive sinkhole opened on private property on Ocean Pines Drive, in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. The sinkhole, originally estimated at 230 feet wide and 50 feet deep, swallowed two homes and left seven more uninhabitable. Now, it is about 10 feet deep and resembles a drainage pond, while the road remains closed to through traffic. And although it has been remediated to some extent, with the county having already spent more than $1 million for initial cleanup and stabilization of the site, there is still work to be done.

Public Safety officials and Pasco County engineers have proposed these three long-term recovery solutions for the site:

  1. To install a 6-foot tall decorative fence and access gate around the sinkhole with dead-end signs, at an estimated cost of $65,000
  2. To build the same fence around the sinkhole, with two, 70-foot “hammerhead” turn-arounds on either side of the sinkhole to allow drivers enough space to do three-point turns, at an estimated cost of $242,000
  3. To build the same fence around the sinkhole with a cul-de-sac on each side, at an estimated cost ranging from $1.7 million to $2.2 million


The last proposal was finally considered ruled out, as geotechnical studies revealed the potential for several more underground anomalies, including one where a cul-de-sac would be located. Moreover, it would require purchasing two additional homes from residents. On the other hand, no additional homeowners would be displaced for the turn-around construction, as the county would need to purchase from them only the area needed for the turn-arounds, not their entire properties. Initially, the options were five, and further included the sinkhole’s connection to Lake Saxon (at an estimated cost of $2.5 million) and the rebuilding of Ocean Pines with supportive piles driven underground (at around $750,000), but both of them were found to be risky.

 Those three options were presented to the residents at the March 14th session, while on March 27th, they were presented to the Pasco County Commission, together with community feedback. The Commissioners finally approved the second option , with its construction expected to begin within six months to eight months, while they also agreed to get more information on the feasibility of linking the sinkhole to Lake Saxon, as a future project. The turnarounds are considered an immediate safety solution for a roadway, while they will also ease the access for garbage trucks and emergency vehicles, which currently are forced to drive backwards to exit Ocean Pines Drive. “We’ll move as quickly as possible,” said Margaret Smith, the county’s engineering services director. However, some were disappointed with the decision.

 "They’re not going to fill it. What are you going to do? It’s a big mess.’’ Pam Carr, of South Shore Drive, said about the sinkhole

 Source: The Laker / Lutz News

Read 633 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2018 10:12

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