The Strawberry Line tunnel at Shute Shelve, near Winscombe, is set to temporarily close for two weeks next month. This is to allow routine maintenance of the tunnel to take place, as well as the felling of surrounding diseased ash trees.
The tunnel will close at 7.30am on Monday 2 October, with a continuous closure in place until it reopens, which is currently planned for noon on Monday 16 October.
Due to the nature of the work and the machinery involved, the closure will be in place in both directions and for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
A diversion for pedestrians will be in place to the north of the tunnel, through Slader’s Leigh Nature Reserve. As this is not part of the national cycle route, the diversion is not open to cyclists. A diversion route is unable to be offered to the south of the tunnel due to work taking place nearby. This means the A38 will be the only alternative route to the south of the tunnel during this time.
People are asked to follow signage, which will include maps, in place throughout the work.
In addition to maintenance work on the tunnel structure, which includes checking for loose rocks and maintaining the catch nets in place, the council will carry out essential tree work at the same time. Nearby trees have been identified as having Ash Dieback, a fungal disease which is often fatal to trees. A rapid decline in the health of these trees means that urgent action is needed to remove them for safety reasons.
To keep up to date, please like and follow the Nature and Climate North Somerset Facebook account (NatureandClimateNorthSomerset).
More information about Ash Dieback can be found on the council’s website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/ashdieback.