Students who use Sycamore Drive on campus will have to take a detour for the next few days.
A sinkhole opened under Sycamore Drive Monday near parking lot 18B and the Chapel Center at USF. A large portion of the road is currently blocked to cars, and University Police (UP) Assistant Chief Chris Daniel said it will likely be a couple of days before the road is reopened.
Daniel said he did not know when the sinkhole formed, but UP was first alerted around
5 p.m. by someone from USF Athletics.
While the hole is approximately 3 feet wide by 3 feet long on the surface, Daniel said it is much larger under the road — about 10 feet wide by 7 feet long and 4 to 5 feet deep. He added that no structures are susceptible to damage except for a nearby Bull Runner bus stop.
While Daniel said it is rare for a sinkhole to suddenly appear, a recent Tampa Bay Times article said the ground in Tampa Bay is currently more susceptible to sinkholes due to recent flooding and high volumes of rain in the area.
According to the Times, all the excess water weighs down the underlying soil and sand, which makes it more likely for the ground to give way and form a depression or sinkhole.
The article also stated that the soggy ground is to blame for the reopening of a fatal 20-foot deep sinkhole in Seffner, which opened under a man’s bed as he slept.
Daniel said crews will have to test the ground around Sycamore Drive before filling the sinkhole with gravel or determining another way to safely deal with it before reopening the road.