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I-4 at Plant City repaired and open again after sinkhole scare

PLANT CITY — After four days — and countless hours of frustration for those sitting in traffic — drivers were able to use all four lanes on eastbound Interstate 4 when construction wrapped at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Florida Department of Transportation closed three of the four lanes Tuesday near the Branch Forbes exit after drivers reported a dip in the left lane.

Engineers began investigating the depression, caused by soil settling beneath the asphalt, to determine whether it was a sinkhole.

Crews used ground-penetrating radar to study the depression and drilled holes to retrieve core samples. They pumped 1,000 cubic yards of concrete beneath the surface to stabilize the roadway, said Marian Scorza, a spokeswoman for the department.

But while they waited for it to settle, a sinkhole opened on the main detour road, U.S. 92, at Alexander Street, causing further delays and headaches.

Scorza said both problems have been repaired and all lanes are open.

Southwest Florida Water Management District officials said they believe the plague of sinkholes in the Plant City area resulted from farmers' pumping of water to protect their crops during an unusual two-week cold snap.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.

I-4 at Plant City repaired and open again after sinkhole scare 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 9:16pm]
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