Impact of a Local Sinkhole

An expanding sinkhole between Buford Boulevard and Fleischmann Road may sink plans for a new roadway in Tallahassee.

City plans to build Welaunee Boulevard, a northward expansion of the newly-constructed Blair Stone Road, may be in the ditch because of a sinkhole first discovered in October. Now, it's 70 feet across and 40 feet deep.

Gabe Menendez, director of Public Works, says, "We have been monitoring it ever since. It has more than tripled in size both in width and in depth."

Sinkholes are not rare occurrences in Leon County. Acid in the groundwater causes holes to develop in limestone below the ground. Sand and clay then sinks down into those holes in the rock and causes sinkholes.

Dr. Walt Schmidt, a Florida state geologist, says, "Where the limestone is near the surface, we have a lot of sinkholes. Where it's a little bit deeper, where it's covered by sands and clays, we generally have less sinkholes, but when they do occur, they're generally bigger and wider.”

The sinkhole is over 200 feet away from the nearest facilities, so residents and businesses should not be concerned for now, but what about the construction of the new road?

Gabe adds, "At this point we want to do the exploration first to find out what we're dealing with. After we have that information and what it would take to remedy it, we will determine what our options are with the road. I think we're premature to say if we're going to continue with the road or not continue with the road."

Hopefully, mother nature won't place any more gaps in the project.

Menendez says that changing the alignment of the planned road and bridging or filling the sinkhole are potential options to correct the problem, but these solutions could add cost to the project.


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