Hole closes I-275 on-ramp 9 hours

Published September 14, 2006

TAMPA - Drivers attempting to get onto northbound Interstate 275 from Ashley Drive hit a snag Wednesday in the form of a big hole, which closed the on-ramp from 6:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.

Early Wednesday, a contractor saw the 10-foot-wide, 12-foot-deep hole in the embankment and shoulder. At 2 p.m., Florida Department of Transportation spokesman John McShaffrey said, workers were filling it with an entire truckload of concrete.

Until the ramp was reopened, traffic was detoured to the entrance ramp at N Orange Avenue.

McShaffrey said it is not yet certain what caused the hole. While unusual, he said, similar holes tend to appear when water erodes the dirt under the roadway.

He added that the embankment dates to the 1960s, when the road was first built, but the department is confident this was an isolated incident.

"We check the embankments all along the right-of-way regularly," he said.