"We've always had problems with beavers where we don't have a bridge," said Chance Powell, an engineer for Walton County
One of the great mysteries early Thursday morning was solved after it was determined that beavers were the most likely culprit for the sinkhole that has closed Walton County Road 30A near County Road 283.
"We've always had problems with beavers where we don't have a bridge," said Chance Powell, an engineer for Walton County, who believes beavers upset the water flow at the site of the collapse.
The Walton County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 5 a.m. Thursday about a sinkhole on 30A at Alligator Lake.
According to County Commissioner Tony Anderson, who was present as county crews began to fill the extensive hole, a GMC pickup was crossing the section of road when the asphalt began to cave in. The vehicle made it across, but the pickup was damaged and the man driving it was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast with minor injuries, said Walton County Public Works Manager Wilmer Stafford.
"The water that flows under the road became too heavy on one side and caused it to fall in," said Stafford, who also was at the scene later in the morning.
The section of CR 30A surrounding the collapse site has been closed until the road can be repaired.
On the surface, the hole appears to be about 4 feet wide and takes up three-quarters of the road in front of Alligator Lake. But officials calculate that crew must deal with a much larger area of damage under the road.
Stafford said the hole is about 7 feet deep.
The sinkhole is about a half mile west of CR 283's intersection with 30A. The road is closed from CR 283 to County Road 83.
Powell said he hopes repairs can be completed quickly and the road be ready to reopen by Friday night or early Saturday.Powell said crews will make a clean cut in the road around the hole and hopefully fill it in with loose asphalt and pour hot mix by the end of Friday. // // // //