Sinkhole closes lanes on Interstate 80 in California

Aug. 23, 2013 at 10:57 PM

TRUCKEE, Calif., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A sinkhole that opened on Interstate 80 near Truckee, Calif., closed two lanes of the highway for several hours Friday.

The hole, in the median of the highway, was spotted about midnight Thursday by a construction worker involved in a repaving project, officials said. One lane in each direction was shut down, although the highway remained open, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Rochelle Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, said the westbound lane opened in mid-morning and the eastbound one in mid-afternoon. The hole was filled with concrete.

Jenkins told the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal the department had been unable to measure the depth of the sinkhole. She said it was almost certainly caused by water, possibly from cracks in a culvert in the area or from groundwater not gathered up in the culvert.

"It has been developing for a while, not something that developed over the week," she said.

Sinkholes most commonly develop in limestone, which can dissolve leaving underground hollows, like the one that swallowed a lake near Ocala, Fla., this week. They can also be the result of human activity.

A large sinkhole that opened this week in southern Louisiana was believed to be a collapsed salt dome cavern.

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