This is my interpretation of engineering speak about what is going on at the Beaminster Tunnel and you need to look at the great photo posted the other day, which is just below this post on the website, to understand.
You will see two big machines which are inserting nails into the slopes – they do this at a rate of 20 per day. There is also a man held machine which puts in 6 nails per day. The nails are almost finished on the north side of the Tunnel and have now started with other equipment on the south side. It is quite amazing to watch the nails being put in, with the workers absailing down the slopes.
The entrances of the Tunnel have been pinned but now need to be reinforced with concrete behind the head walls – this will not change the look of the entrances but strenghen them. When the nail machine moves off the top of the tunnel entrance the works can be started to dig out soil to put in the concrete behind the top sections. The same will happen on the south side. They could not do this before because the slopes needed making safeish before works took place just under the slopes.
The specialist nail team are working 11 days on, two off. There are other teams working around them on the portals and the road and the drainage system, so work is happening at all times when possible.
The next stage once the nails are in will be to put the big mesh over the top – like a webbing which will seal down the greensand and allow vegetation to grow through over time.
There is a site visit next week for members of the community who have expressed an interest in seeing it – nearly everyone who asked is being invited, but I am sorry if you asked and cannot be invited on this trip. I will see if more can be fitted in but the most important thing is to ensure the works keep going as quickly and safely as possible.
There is some bad news – the A3066 between the Tunnel and Mosterton needs resurfacing and there has been an agonising decision that has been made. Does the Tunnel open and then effectively close again because the road needs resurfacing or do the works while the Tunnel is closed? The conclusion was that the best thing to do is resurface the road when the Tunnel is closed, not doing another closure just after it opens. It is going to be hard but the A3066 will be open before 9am and after 4pm and at weekends and the bank holiday. The dates for this are 23 May – 31 May. I am so sorry, but it is better to get it all done and not put another closure in place in say July or August. I hope you understand.
Progress is good, the weather is being kind, and the three plus teams are working hard – they have every incentive to get the works done ASAP.
I have been asked for the date – end June is still on, and we hope the weather is kind – it might just mean earlier….