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By Tom Gardner
PUBLISHED: 14:57 EST, 1 December 2012 | UPDATED: 15:11 EST, 1 December 2012
A motorist had a lucky escape after the road he was travelling along collapsed into a massive sinkhole the size of four football fields.
A frantic witness, who had just seen the astonishing moment thousands of tonnes of earth sank dozens of feet into the ground, prevented disaster by flagging the unwitting driver down.
Without warning, the giant sinkhole devoured a large section of State Highway 516 in Dover, Ohio, U.S. within a few minutes on Wednesday, according to local TV station WKYC.
Monumental: The huge sinkhole, which measures about the size of four football fields, appeared on Wednesday
Mind the pothole: The massive sinkhole opened up within a few minutes - taking with it a chunk of State Highway 516
Hank Rutkowski, a mechanical engineer who works only a few hundred yards from the sinkhole, said he and a colleague sprang into action after a man who works in the same building began driving towards the rapidly forming hole.
He told WKYC: 'There was a car coming down this road right about at the end when it was still driveable. Mike started waving his arms to stop traffic. That person might have been lucky.'
The road will have to be closed for months while engineers determine the best way to make permanent repairs.
Danger ahead: A lane of State Highway 516 in Ohio plugned a dozen feet into the sinkhole within a space of a few minutes
Cordoned off: Families living nearby had a miraculous escape as the creator opened up within yards of their homes
No way through: The road will have to be closed for months while engineers make repairs
A shocked Lloyd McAdam said in his 16 years working as Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 Director he had never seen anything on this scale before.
Soon after the huge earth movement, attention soon turned to industrial activity nearby.
The pond and the land which sank belongs to the Newton Asphalt Company, which had been dredging for sand as much as 50 feet deep.
Mr McAdam believes the dredging may have undermined the bank on which the road sat.
Families living nearby had a miraculous escape as the creator opened up within yards of their homes.
Engineers will continue inspecting the sinkhole and may eventually consider building a bridge over the affected area.
It is thought repairs will not start until the beginning of next year.
No way through: Motorists face a long detour to get around the enormous sinkhole which destroyed part of State Highway 516
Recriminations: After the earth collapsed, attention soon focused on the work of Newton Asphalt Company, which owns the land which sank and had been dredging for sand as much as 50 feet deep
Stunned: Amazed locals had never seen anything on the scale of this sinkhole ever before