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Highway officials monitoring hole

April 07, 2001

Highway officials monitoring hole



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer


Maryland State Highway Administration officials will continue to monitor a sizable hole which appeared near the intersection of Maryland 63 and Maryland 68 and Interstate 81 last week.

Calls about the hole were referred to the Maryland agency, which dispatched workers to the scene even though it is not directly on a state highway, said spokesman Dave Buck.

"It's adjacent to a state route, so we sent some people out," Buck said.

Workers put barrels and tape around the site and plan to look at it further in the coming days, he said. People from the materials section of the department will probably assess what is occurring.

"We're going to have people come in and check it out," he said.

He said he is uncertain whether to call it a sinkhole because "that has a connotation that it is going to swallow something up."

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It could be a sinkhole, but no one will know without further review, he said..

"It's big. It's huge," said Allen Swope, who lives on Falling Waters Road. "I've lived here all my life and I've never said anything like it."

Swope estimated the hole is at least 35 feet in diameter at the bottom and he's measured the depth at 12 feet.

The hole is not the only new one in the area, said Swope, who is retired from the Maryland State Police.

Nearby, close to the northbound off-ramp of I-81, Swope said he discovered another "gigantic" hole since he saw the first one and called state police. He said that one looks like it is "starting to burrow" under the off-ramp.

"There's also a lot of them in a stormwater management area" nearby, Swope said.

"There's some ancient ones out there, but a lot of new ones," he said. "It looks like they are in a line, so there must be something going on there."

Buck said this is the time of the year for such holes to appear. After the repeated freezing and thawing cycles of winter that produce potholes, water can seep into areas and cause holes to appear, he said.

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