Two holes open at U.S. 19 business

by Michael Mosher on October 23, 2017

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On Thursday, construction work on U.S. 19 sank to a new low for one Homosassa business owner when two large holes opened up on his property.

Joe Dawson believes the roadwork along U.S. 19 is causing the problem.

“This is my third sinkhole on my property since they started tearing up the road,” Dawson said.

As the owner of Jewels and Diamonds Inc. on the corner of U.S. 19 and West Bradshaw Street, he has had numerous disagreements with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) over actions taken during the road widening in front of his business.

“When they pulled all of the dirt, they destabilized my property,” Dawson said Thursday afternoon. “But this one is huge. You could stick a small car through it, and it is getting bigger throughout the day.”

Dawson said when the first “sinkhole” opened, FDOT said it was from erosion, so to fix his parking lot quickly he paid out of pocket. Now, he said, the problem is too large.

“I never got paid for fixing the first one caused by erosion from their roadwork …,” Dawson said.

On Thursday, two new holes appeared — one 6 feet wide, undermining his fence and narrowly missing buildings; the second, 5 feet from the outside of the fence.

FDOT spokesman John McShaffrey acknowledged the construction along with drainage could cause these depressions, but not sinkholes.

“We will call them ‘depressions’ because they could be caused by construction, while a leaky pipe could cause a hole,” McShaffrey said. “But a sinkhole naturally occurs.”

McShaffrey said one of the depressions at the property was only discovered this morning and they are researching it now.

“Our crews quickly had a company come out to do a ground-penetrating radar test today to determine the underground conditions,” McShaffrey said. “We don’t have the results of the testing yet and probably won’t have them today.”



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