A COUNCIL looks set to spend £100,000 making a Weymouth beauty spot safe to prevent any risk to life.
The long-awaited project would stabilise an area of the Rodwell Trail around Wyke Road Tunnel which is causing concern for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
The footpath from Wyke Road down to the trail, which has been closed since for more than a year due to a mini landslip, is cracking up and moving, the embankment slope is failing, and the tunnel wing wall is at ‘imminent risk of failure’ which could potentially kill people walking nearby if it collapsed.
Closure of the Wyke Road footpath, one of the Rodwell Trail’s main access points, inconveniences many people who have to take a long detour.
Signs and fences blocking access have been vandalised by what are believed to be people frustrated about it being shut.
Locals claimed last year the state of the footpath was not as bad as authorities made out.
But consultants employed by the council found that ‘large cracking’ is present within the footpath and there is ongoing ground movement which will ultimately lead to more serious slope failure.
Failure of the embankment would be ‘catastrophic’, posing a risk to life so it is recommended the footpath stays shut until stabilisation works are complete.
Repairs were conducted at Wyke Tunnel only last year after the surface of the brickwork inside was found to be peeling.
A report to the council’s management committee next Tuesday sets out the options for the new work required and recommends the ‘most economic option’ available – a package of repair works to the wing wall and embankment costing £100,000.
It would mean the trail remains open, the footpath can be opened up again and there would be ‘improved public relations’ in the area.
However, with this option the embankment would continue to move and the footpath may require routine maintenance.
More than half the funding for the work would come from an assets fund put aside for infrastructure, but the council would still need to find the rest.
Dorset County Council, which is responsible for maintaining the surface of the Rodwell Trail, is unable to contribute any money.
Chairman of the Friends of Rodwell Trail David Carter said: “We are very pleased this work is being proposed and no doubt it will be welcomed by all members of the community.
“The Wyke Road entrance is one of the principle access points.”