A large depression has opened up underneath the roadway in St. Petersburg. Drivers are being asked to avoid 34th Street South at 4th Avenue South. St Pete leaders say they hope to have the cavity fixed by Tuesday evening.
Crews began assessing the depression just after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. The St. Petersburg Police Department has closed a portion of the road to keep drivers safe.
"It could swallow a car!" St. Pete PD posted on Facebook.
Police say that the depression looks small from the surface but that it is actually about 10 feet deep and 10 feet across under the road.
FDOT Engineers alongside St Petersburg's stormwater, pavement and traffic operations team determined a box culvert 10-14 feet under the road, which carries stormwater out of the area, has a broken joint which caused the pipe to leak.
John Norris, the director of the stormwater, pavement and traffic operations team says the leak started pulling soil out from under the road. Norris believes the depression may have started to form 1-2 weeks ago after heavy rainfall but didn't become noticeable until Tuesday when a heavy truck may have broken the surface of the road.
Norris says it's hard to predict where and when depressions will happen, but city leaders inspect pipes and culverts daily uding small cameras.
Luckily, a contractor was working in the area around 34th Street S and spotted the depression. They called the city just in time before it became a safety hazard for drivers.
— Sarah J. Hollenbeck (@SarahHollenbeck) October 31, 2017