TAMPA - A "cave-in" over a city of Tampa wastewater pipe has caused the hole in the roadway at 138th Avenue near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in north Tampa, a city of Tampa official said.
It was first reported to be a sinkhole, but now officials believe corrosion caused a wastewater pipe underneath the roadway to fail, which ultimately caused the hole in the roadway, said Anthony Kasper, city of Tampa wastewater director.
Westbound lanes of 138th Avenue just east of Bruce B. Downs remain closed and will be closed possibly throughout the night, Kasper said. The road closure extends for about 100 yards. Bruce B. Downs is not closed, Kasper said. Drivers are asked to follow detour signs.
It appears the "cave-in" was caused by gases from the wastewater that forms into sulfuric acid. This caused corrosion, which ate away at the 36-inch pipe. The hole was formed on the top of the pipe when the dirt and soil under the roadway seeped into the pipe underneath the roadway, Kasper said.
"I wouldn't consider it a sinkhole," Kasper said. "This is caused by the failure of an underground infrastructure."
Kasper said the city crews continue to investigate and are trying to place a camera into the pipe to confirm his theory. Sewer service is not interrupted for residents living near the hole, according to a city of Tampa press release.
The hole is estimated to be 6 feet wide and about 30 feet deep, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
A woman driving a 2010 Nissan Versa was on top of the roadway when the hole began to form, the sheriff's office said. The driver accelerated and drove off the roadway. Her vehicle sustained tire damage from the broken pavement. She wasn't injured, the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office will maintain traffic control.