Routine tests will take place from Monday 3 June on soil nails drilled into the bank of the River Stour, bordering the A357 in Sturminster Newton.

Nearly 500 nails, between 8 metres and 12 metres long, are securing mesh to the embankment and a random selection will undergo resistance tests to check they are working as expected.

The soil nails were drilled through to the bedrock at the end of 2023 to stabilise the bank which was slipping into the river, and to protect the busy road.

The process will take approximately three weeks. It should have taken place when stabilisation work completed in February 2024. However, continued heavy rainfall meant the ground was too wet at that time for the specialist testing equipment to gain the required traction.

The tests will be carried out using handheld equipment. There will be no impact on vehicle traffic, with all work taking place away from the carriageway. Part of the fencing will be removed  temporarily to enable access and any ground or flora disturbed during the process will be repaired or replanted.

Cllr Jon Andrews, Cabinet member for Place Commissioned Services, said: “Back in the winter, our team and contractors, Heidelberg, worked in challenging conditions to secure the riverbank and this testing is a standard part of the process to make sure everything is working as expected.  

“We thank everyone, including residents, businesses, the town council and local ward councillor for their patience throughout the process.”

There will be a welfare unit situated on the access to the Mill to provide amenities for the engineers while the works takes place. An area will also be coned off for contractors’ vehicles.

Trees on the bank were removed so the soil-nailing and mesh installation could go ahead. Replacement trees will be planted at the nature reserve on the other side of the bridge later this year.

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