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Florida’s Turnpike reopens after overnight crews repair giant holes

Giant highway holes shut down turnpike

A broken water line created up two giant sinkhole-like openings that closed the southbound turnpike in Miami Gardens Saturday into Sunday morning.
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A broken water line created up two giant sinkhole-like openings that closed the southbound turnpike in Miami Gardens Saturday into Sunday morning.

Monday morning commuters won’t have to worry about the two giant holes that opened up over the weekend in the southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike near Hard Rock Stadium.

That’s because Miami-Dade Water and Sewer and Florida Department of Transportation crews worked overnight Saturday into Sunday morning to have the major thoroughfare up and running by 10 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s a true testament to the roadway maintenance people and contractors who got it done in such a quick fashion,” said Chad Huff, a spokesman for Florida’s Turnpike. “Everything is back to normal.”

It all started about 1 p.m. Saturday when drivers began to notice a dip the road.

A Florida Highway trooper immediately headed that way and spotted the broken asphalt, which was the result of a small pipe bursting. Because the openings weren’t natural-occurring, they are not technically sinkholes — just holes in the road.

FHP immediately shut down the stretch of the road and traffic was rerouted. Southbound traffic was diverted to the Homestead Extension (821) of the turnpike. The 2X (Northwest 199th Street) and 4X (County Line Road) exits were shut down.

Jennifer Messemer-Skold, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Water and Sewer, said crews were able to repair the 10-inch pipe — a natural break, she said — by 3 a.m.

The Florida Department of Transportation then took over to repair the road and lay new asphalt, Huff said.

“It’s not easy work,” Huff said.

All the while, FHP kept the area closed off to vehicles — snarling weekend traffic — until the road reopened Sunday.

“With all of us working together we were able to reopen the road relatively fast,” FHP spokesman Joe Sanchez said. “The most important thing is that no one got hurt.”

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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