Sinkhole repairs made, Socastee Swing Bridge reopens

SCDOT crews work to repair the sinkhole Wednesday morning

A sinkhole in the roadway closed down traffic at the Socastee Swing Bridge for most of the day Wednesday.

The sinkhole was discovered late Tuesday afternoon. An SC Department of Transportation crew fixed the hole in time for Dick Pond Road to reopen for rush hour traffic Wednesday.

State officials say it was not an everyday pothole. The sinkhole was about two feet wide and eight to ten feet deep.

A DOT engineer says it probably started as a small crack that gradually grew until the road collapsed.

"Over time it just started eroding a little bit and then finally, I guess over time it just finally gave away a little bit and enough it created a small hole in the asphalt," said maintenance engineer Shannon Welch.

Welch says crews filled in the hole with fresh asphalt, including reinforcing the slope underneath the bridge to keep the problem from happening again.

"Using good material and some asphalt that'll hopefully hold it and stabilize it," said Welch.

In Florida, sinkholes can swallow whole houses.

Coastal Carolina University geophysics professor Rich Viso says Florida's limestone foundation can dissolve and give way as groundwater is withdrawn.

The Grand Strand doesn't have that same underground formation, so sinkholes here are more rare and shallower.

"Here in the lower coastal plain of South Carolina, we would expect more gradual style of sinkhole or depression formation, as evidenced by swamps and things around here," said Viso.

Viso says sinkholes in our area, like the one in Georgtown a few years ago, are typically caused by some sort of man-made modification.

Naturally-occurring sinkholes aren't a major concern.

"Anything can happen, but I don't expect that that would be a huge problem around here."

Traffic on Dick Pond Road was re-routed to the big bridge on Highway 544 during the repairs.

Boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway was not affected.