FHP: Car falls into hole at Interstate 4 interchange

Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol are responding to an incident in which a car has fallen into an approximately 15-foot wide hole that has opened up near the Maitland Blvd. interchange with Interstate 4. The driver was uninjured and car removed late Monday afternoon. Work has begun to repair the ramp in time for the Tuesday morning commute.

Authorities say the hole is located on the exit ramp off of eastbound (Daytona Beach-bound) Interstate 4. According to a spokesman with the Florida Department of Transportation, there was a "pavement failure" on the ramp leading to eastbound Maitland Blvd. Once the car was removed from the scene, engineers quickly assessed the cause of the incident and time needed to patch the roadway.

The hole opened as FDOT crews were working on the I-4 Ultimate project at the interchange. A spokesman for FDOT said there was horizontal drilling that was happening under the ramp at the time. Crews were installing a drainage pipe and hit an old clay pipe that was not marked on maps. "It was not on any of the plans, any of the previous exploration that was done in this area," explained FDOT spokesman David Parks. "When we hit that pipe, it basically washed out a small section of the dirt underneath that ramp. All that dirt settled, and it created that depression, that asphalt failure," Parks added.

"The vehicle was traveling along the exit ramp and the driver tried to avoid it but got partially stuck," said Charles Van Camp, Assistant Fire Chief with Maitland Fire Rescue. "He was able to exit the vehicle and crews stabilized the vehicle, so it wouldn't sink any further."

Commuters should plan an alternate route for Tuesday morning, just in case the work is not complete in time for the morning rush hours. The exit ramp (90A) to eastbound Maitland Blvd. remains closed; however, FDOT officials said the portion of the ramp which splits off and leads to westbound Maitland Blvd. is open.