Sinkhole opens up at Wal-Mart facility site


Published: Saturday, January 7, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 7, 2006 at 12:03 a.m.
ALACHUA - Preliminary work on the site of a Wal-Mart distribution center here was interrupted earlier this week when a sinkhole opened on the site.
The sinkhole at the site on County Road 235A will not prevent the development from moving forward, Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris said.
"We are still committed to the project; that hasn't changed," Morris said.
Company officials with detailed knowledge about the project were not available for comment Friday afternoon, Morris said, leaving questions about the specifics about the sinkhole and how it would impact construction on the site.
Morris and Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson said Friday they were uncertain of the size of the sinkhole, its location on the property or the damage it may have caused.
Security workers at the site refused to allow a Sun reporter on the property to see it.
It is also unclear what types of delays could be caused by the incident because work on the site is still in its preliminary stages and a full work crew is not on the site, Morris said.
Originally, the company had hoped to have the 1.1 million-square-foot center opened by the end of 2006 but has been proceeding slowly while awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit against the city of Alachua for allowing the development, he said.
The plans submitted by Wal-Mart for the site included details about how the company would handle sinkholes that developed on the site to ensure the area's water supply is unaffected, Watson said.
Submitted in 2004, the site plan listed 10 locations on the property as "sinkhole areas."
"The plan already defines what is required of a developer if a sinkhole opens," Watson said. "We have to make sure we protect our aquifer."
Jeff Adelson can be reached at 352-374-5095 or adelsoj@gvillesun.com

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