Mudslide blocks roadway in Bartow

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Drivers were faced with a big obstacle on Monday in Bartow...a mound of mud, at least four feet high, was flowing into the roadway at Old Homeland Road.

Water and dirt came rushing down from a nearby hill during Hurricane Irma.

A deep ravine was created through the hill, causing the mud to flow downtown the roadway and across the street to a pond.

The mud rose so high it nearly covered a nearby barbed wire fence that once blocked the land from the road.

Residents in the area said they've never seen a mudslide on the normally hilly road they drive daily.

"I have never seen that in my life. that is amazing. it just broke free apparently, took out the fence and everything," said Brandon Keen.

"I thought it was a new road coming in here. I was like, what? I had to get out and look," said Josh Keen, who took a chance driving through the mudslide with his truck.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the mudslide may have been caused by a berm erosion at an old phosphate mine above the hill. A berm is a large mound of dirt designed to reduce run off.

The land is owned by a development company called Clear Springs. Polk County officials said on Monday, it's unclear if the company will be responsible for cleaning up the mud from the road once the water stops flowing.

The portion of Old Homeland Road, off County Road 640, is currently closed to drivers.