Section of Land O’ Lakes sinkhole collapses overnight

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – Cleanup at a huge Land O’ Lakes sinkhole will not begin Friday as previously planned because the sinkhole appears to have become active again.

Three weeks ago, the sinkhole swallowed two homes on Ocean Pine Drive in the Lake Padgett Estates community.  Dramatic video showed one of the homes as it collapsed. The sinkhole was estimated to be 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep after it formed that day.

Crews had planned to start cleaning debris from the sinkhole on Friday, but the contractor is re-evaluating the stability of the edges of the sinkhole after seeing signs the sinkhole has become active. The contractor wants to make sure that it’s safe to operate heavy equipment in the area.

The area of concern is a 10-foot wide by 80-foot-long section on the west side of the sinkhole that collapsed overnight on Thursday.

Pasco County Emergency Management staff notified homeowners that there was some activity overnight. Equipment has been moved away from the western edge as a safety precaution.

There will be more testing with ground penetrating radar before work resumes.

RELATED STORY: Videos tell story of homes destroyed by Land O’ Lakes sinkhole

The contractor does expect some of the edges of the sinkhole to collapse and that is why fill will be brought in to help stabilize the banks.

Crews plan to stabilize the bank of the sinkhole, so debris removal can resume.

When the land opened up back in July, officials braced for the worst as it just kept growing and growing and at a very rapid pace.

Crews were in a race against the clock that morning and as two homes, cars, and boats sank into the Earth, they evacuated a total of 9 other nearby homes.

On Thursday, crews brought in heavy equipment to begin getting rid of the debris in preparation for Friday.

RELATED STORY: Pasco deputy at scene of sinkhole helps elderly woman, goes into sinking house for her medication

“Right now, it’s important to try to get a sense of  normalcy back to this neighborhood,” said Doug Tobin, a spokesperson for Pasco County.  “That’s going to start with cleaning this sinkhole out with the debris that’s in there.”

The clean-up is expected to take two to four weeks but that could change at any time due to variables like weather and possible shifts in the soil.

Crews will also fill the hole up with dirt equal to the size of 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The cost for phase one is expected to close a little more $1 million for phase one.

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