Beaminster landslip tunnel to reopen on 29 July

  • 17 July 2013
  • From the section Dorset
Beaminster Tunnel entrance picture taken on 11 July 2013 as the works near completion
Image caption Wild flowers will be sown on the slopes created around the tunnel

A Dorset road tunnel shut since two people died in a landslip there last summer is reopening on 29 July.

Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe, from Somerset, died on 7 July 2012 when their car was buried at Beaminster Tunnel.

Specialist soil nailing, reinforcement and drainage have taken place as part of a £2.1m repair project.

The tunnel, which forms part of the A3066 route, was initially due to open in May but repair work was delayed.

Dorset County Council said it would open the road to two-way traffic at 10:00 BST on Monday, 29 July.

'Terrible tragedy'

It said temporary traffic signals may be used while contractors finish off work, but not during peak times and at weekends.

Image caption Rosemary Snell died with Michael Rolfe in the landslip in July

The stabilising works, which began in December, are expected to be effective for 120 years, the council said.

The works were initially delayed by complex land ownership issues and very bad weather, which prevented access due to the steepness of the slopes, the council said.

Rebecca Knox, local county councillor, said: "This is great news for us all and particularly those who have been affected by the diversions - whether it was travelling them or living along the busy lanes that had to be used.

"It has been a frustrating year but now we can get on as before, bearing in mind this was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with those family and friends of those who sadly died last year."

Ms Snell, 67, and Mr Rolfe, 72, went missing on the day of the landslip but it was not until nine days later that Avon and Somerset Police alerted colleagues in Dorset that the couple had been traced to the Beaminster area.

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