Giant hole appears to have stopped growing

- Crews are now working to fix the large hole that opened up yesterday in Tarpon Springs, threatening nearby homes.  Experts don't think the hole is still growing, but they're keeping a close eye on it.

Large piles of dirt are now in place to act as a dam just in case the water level inside the hole rises. Experts don't think that will happen because the sinkhole is mostly drained.

We're told the hole is now estimated at about 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep. 

Utility crews worked throughout the night to begin repairing the broken pipes.  A 30-inch sewer main was among the pipes that ruptured. 

A Pinellas County spokesperson says it had actually opened up a few weeks ago and crews were working on it when it began to collapse yesterday.  Twenty people were evacuated from a trailer park next to the hole, and nearby businesses were also impacted.

The owner of a U-Haul store says she normally has at least 10 trucks parked where the hole opened up -- but they'd been rented out.

"When I found out that there was a sinkhole, of course my first thought was 'Is everybody OK?' Because there are a lot of people that live in this area," Sara smith recalled.  "There's a lot of business that comes through here, especially with ours because we're a U-Haul company. Normally we have a lot of vehicles back here and thank god they weren't there at the time or they probably would have ended up in the sinkhole."

Most of the families who were evacuated have been allowed to return to their homes.  But we're told seven people are still in temporary housing and it's unclear when they'll be allowed back.

It could take until Saturday to get a temporary fix of the ruptured sewer line in place.

The county is asking people in the East Lake area, north of East Lake Woodlands, to conserve water for the next two days.  Drivers are also asked to avoid East Lake Road for now because of all the construction vehicles that need to use the road.

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