Solution Agreed For Beaminster Tunnel
9:53am 8th November 2012
£2.1m pounds will be spent on work to reopen Beaminster Tunnel.
County Councillors have agreed which option they're going for.
Extensive testing has recently confirmed that the sand slopes above the tunnel can be stabilised by a process known as 'soil nailing'.
The soil nails work to pin the slopes together, and act as anchors for a mesh that covers the surface.
The masonry headwalls above the tunnel will also be strengthened by building new reinforced concrete walls behind them, and new drainage will be installed to redirect rainwater and drain the slopes.
Groundwork will now take place to prepare the site, although planning permission will need to be sought and detailed plans drawn up before work to stabilise the land can start.
It is estimated work will start in the new year to pin the land above the tunnel and will take about five months to complete.
Councillor Peter Finney, cabinet member for highways and transportation at Dorset County Council, said:
"I'm pleased that we have now got a plan for works to allow Beaminster Tunnel to be reopened. This has been an extremely complicated problem for engineers and a lot of work has gone into assessing the land and suitable solutions.
"We are keen to get the road open as soon as possible, but safety is our overall concern.
"This solution is the best in terms of keeping people safe and keeping the original features of the tunnel and has the least detrimental impact on the visual landscape."
Councillor Rebecca Knox, Dorset County Council division member for Beaminster, said:
"I'm pleased that plans are now moving on with Beaminster Tunnel.
"In recent days, it's become clear that securing the soil above the site is the best and safest option. The issue now is getting the tunnel opened as quickly as possible.
"The effects of the tunnel being closed have been felt not only in Beaminster but also in surrounding areas."