MIDDLETOWN — Two lanes closed for several hours reopened on northbound Interstate 75 at about 8 p.m. on Friday night, Jan. 15, but motorists can expect a long delay as crews continue to patch up a large sinkhole.
The sinkhole was discovered about 9 p.m. Thursday night, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Crews shut down the left and center lanes of northbound I-75 between Monroe at Ohio 63 and Middletown at Ohio 122 while a construction team made a temporary patch.
The lanes are scheduled to close again at 6 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, and remain that way until 6 p.m. as crews complete work on the hole, according to Liz Lyons of Ohio Department of Transportation.
A combination of winter weather and aging pavement is to blame for the approximately 23-by-8 foot sinkhole, according to Sharon Smigielski of ODOT.
“It’s old pavement, which is why we’re out there rehabbing it in the first place,” Smigielski said. “The recent hard freeze and subsequent thaw really accelerated the deterioration.”
As moisture gets beneath the pavement, freezes and eventually melts, Smigielski said old pavement often breaks apart. Highways in particular play host to numerous potholes, sinkholes and pavement failures due to high volumes of traffic, she said.
Crews put several layers of asphalt over the massive sinkhole. The asphalt was rushed to the scene from Valley Asphalt, a plant located on the Ohio River.
Four motorists filed reports Thursday night after striking the sink hole, but the damage in each case was limited to a blown tire, according to Kim Testerman, a dispatcher with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
She said more motorists could have suffered damage when the hole developed, but did not file a report with police.
Staff Writer Tiffany Y. Latta contributed to this story.