Residents give their backing to hood plan for Beaminster Tunnel

Dorset Echo: Beaminster Tunnel - planners may erect a concrete hood over entrance Beaminster Tunnel - planners may erect a concrete hood over entrance

PLANS for a concrete hood over the mouths of Beaminster Tunnel are set to be decided in early November.

About 300 residents packed a meeting last night to hear of two options to repair the stricken tunnel on the edge of town.

In a show of hands at the Public Hall, most favoured proposals for an extension over the tunnel openings to protect against future landslides.

The other option is to drill large steel nails into the ridges above the tunnel to stabilise the land.

Now the two options are due to go to Dorset County Council’s cabinet on November 7 to decide on a preferred option when full results of investigations will be available.

Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe, from Somerset, died when their car was buried at Beaminster Tunnel in floods in July.

Coun Rebecca Knox, who represents the Beaminster ward on the county council, said that she hoped that council officers would be able to cut through red tape to get the tunnel open as soon as possible.

The council will need to gain planning permission for the work but also try to avoid undergoing an environmental impact assessment.

Then, work would be due to start in the new year before a June finish date.

Coun Knox said that west Dorset MP Oliver Letwin is lobbying in London for funding to help pay for the cost of the work – estimated at £1.75million, Residents called for the work to be speeded up and warned that businesses and surrounding road networks were suffering.

Doug Beazer called for the tunnel to be re-opened with temporary traffic lights to allow traffic through while work continues on sections on the other side of the road.

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