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Airport sinkholes filled with dirt and grout

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:59 PM

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The sinkholes at the Hernando County Airport have been filled but officials there are awaiting a final engineering report before cementing them over and allowing airplanes to taxi on them.

The sinkholes opened in June after Tropical Storm Debby sloshed through Hernando County. The airport voids were among the biggest in the area.

Airport Manager Don Silvernell said Wednesday he is awaiting additional geo-technical testing to ensure the ground underneath is sound and there are no other voids. That report is expected any time, possibly this week, he said.

The last thing Silvernell said he wants is for another heavy rain to create more sinkholes.

"Fix it once and fix it right," Silvernell said.

The holes were recently filled with grout and dirt.

Silvernell is estimating the entire repair bill will be no more than $280,000. He hopes to be reimbursed for all or part of that through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Tropical Storm Debby caused numerous sinkholes to open up in Hernando County after it rolled through the area June 23.

Three of them at the airport are huge and extend from one of the entrances to the Army Air National Guard facility, running southwest and crossing the taxiway and into an infield area.

The taxiway serves as a kind of frontage road that parallels the runway and is used by pilots to access it.

One of the biggest sinkholes measured about 12 feet deep and 40 feet across.

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