A 200-foot long hole swallowed part of a state road in Ohio Wednesday — forming so quickly that workers nearby had to run to the road to divert drivers.
The hole, more than 30 feet deep, caught both motorists and highway officials in Dover, a city about 80 miles from Cleveland, off guard. It grew to be nearly 100 feet wide and swallowed up part of State Route 516.
The giant hole is believed to have opened after a pond near the road collapsed. Officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation said it was caused by a dredging machine at a nearby sand and gravel operation, according to local ABC affiliate WEWS-TV.
That operation was being conducted by Newton Asphalt Paving, a local, family-owned asphalt business. A company employee, who asked not to be identified, confirmed to ABCNews.com today the hole opened around 3 p.m. Wednesday and that it was Newton employees who ran to the road to divert traffic. He said that no one was hurt.
The Department of Transportation is investigating what happened but said it believes the dredging work may have eroded the land surrounding the pond, causing the pond to collapse.
“A section of SR 516 has eroded due to the pond failure. Our engineers are currently reviewing the extent of damage to the roadway to determine necessary repairs,” Lloyd MacAdam, the department’s District 11 deputy director, said in a news release.
Officials have closed the road to traffic and said it could be “well into 2013″ before the road is open again, partly because the collapse happened with winter coming, when construction is more difficult to complete.
Officials with the Department of Transportation were not available for comment when called by ABCNews.com.