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Delay To Beaminster Tunnel Reopening

Beaminster Tunnel 1

7:44am 20th February 2013

Delays in fixing Beaminster Tunnel are down to some unhelpful landowners and staff shortages!

That's what County Councillor for Highways Peter Finney has told Wessex FM.

Officials say the tunnel is unlikely to reopen by the end of May, instead it's to be put back another 3 to 5 weeks.

Councillor Finney says specialist staff haven't always been available,  because they had some trouble getting access to some of the land.

He said:

"We know this is devastating news for the community, and it is certainly not what we had foreseen happening.

"The design process is complex and does take time.  It is extremely important that we get it right.  We are doing as much other work on site as we can - including improving the drainage - and we will re-jig parts of the programme where possible to keep the work moving.

"We're getting the site prepared as far as possible given the current constraints so that when we have the green light we can get straight on with the main construction work."

Councillor Rebecca Knox, Dorset County Council division member for Beaminster, said:

"Residents, businesses and neighbouring parishes have been majorly inconvenienced due to the tunnel closure, and any delay is a massive blow.

"While the closure is in place, I am stressing the importance of getting other matters addressed, such as road surfacing, drainage issues, intrusive weeds in the hedgerows, road signs and other matters that the communities in the area have been raising.

"The delay is very disappointing for all of us and I hope the highways project team will be able to get on with all aspects of the work as each matter is resolved to get the road reopened as soon as possible."

Last month, test nails confirmed that soil-nailing will work to stabilise the slopes. About a thousand nails will be driven into the ground and pin a material over the slopes to hold the land in place.

The masonry headwalls above the tunnel and the wing walls on the approach to the tunnel will be strengthened and new drainage will be installed to redirect rainwater and drain the slopes.

The £2.1m project is being funded by Dorset County Council.

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