OCALA, Fla. – A 30-foot hole that opened last weekend in the parking lot of an Ocala shopping plaza remained Thursday, as a rainy week has slowed repairs to a pipe that was burst by rain in the first place, according to the company in charge of fixing it.
The hole, located in the northwest quadrant of where State Road 200 and SW 27th Avenue intersect in Ocala, has since forced the nearby Vitamin Shoppe business to close its doors.
According to Dwight Smith with D&D Smith Constructors, rain caused an underground pipe to burst and has since created more damage as workers try to divert the water and protect the area around the hole.
“I got a text message, just two pictures, I’m like ‘Oh boy,’” said Smith, adding that he raced from Orlando to Ocala to respond. “I kind of took over the reigns of getting fencing, getting protection, bringing in a site crew, contacting our engineers. Some showed on Saturday.”
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In a statement, the city of Ocala acknowledged that the hole opened up on private property. After getting involved to deem the area secure, next steps provide that private contractors and engineers develop a remediation plan to submit to the city building department for approval at a later date.
Eventually, crews are set to replace two sections of piping and seal everything in place with compacted soil, what officials said could take months to complete.
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