- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A sinkhole 14 feet wide and 20 feet deep collapsed one lane of Interstate 70 yesterday.

The State Highway Administration closed both westbound lanes and directed drivers to use the left-hand shoulder or detour through Frederick, a city of 59,000. The disruption caused long backups during the morning and evening rush hours.

SHA spokesman David Buck predicted that the highway would fully reopen early this morning.

“It”s going to take us quite a while to fill the hole with rocks and grout,” Mr. Buck said.

The sinkhole was near East South Street in a quarried area prone to sinkhole formation. Mr. Buck said heavy rain last weekend may have dissolved some of the limestone and dolomite bedrock, creating subterranean voids.

“It”s the most prevalent area where we”ve had sinkholes over the past 20 years,” he said.

The SHA closed the right-hand lane at about 7 a.m. after workers noticed a surface anomaly. It widened into a depression 2½ inches wide and 10 feet long before collapsing, Mr. Buck said.

Sinkholes also disrupted I-70 traffic in the area in October and November 2003, when several voids near the highway prompted ramp closures.

In summer 2003, a four-lane suburban road in Frederick was closed for six weeks while workers filled a sinkhole 12 feet deep and 32 feet wide.

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