HIGHWAYS bosses say their investigations show underlying natural geology is the most likely cause of the landslip on a major route in Ilminster.

The Beacon was closed in mid- February amid fears it could fall down a slope when large cracks appeared in a 70- metre section.

Investigations have been taking place at the site of the landslip and further along the route towards the bottom of New Road, also known as Cemetery Hill.

Neil McWilliams, highway service manager, said: “Initial investigations indicate that the structural damage to the carriageway is most likely to have formed as a result of instability within the underlying natural geology rather than a localised defect associated with the pavement or earthworks.

“As a result of this, and to ensure that any remedial solutions are appropriate, Somerset County Council considers it important to study and investigate the wider area.”

The further investigations involved a survey of the immediate area, which took place last week, and more work including trial pits and boreholes in the adjacent fields expected to start this week.

These works are expected to take two weeks to complete and Mr McWilliams added: “I appreciate the local frustration caused by the perceived lack of works taking place, but may I seek to reassure you that every effort is being made to progress these works and re-open the B3168 as soon as possible.”

Cllr Linda Vijeh, who represents Ilminster for Somerset County Council, has asked to find out if businesses can receive compensation as a result of the closure but fears the collapse is likely to be considered ‘an act of God’, which means claims would be unsuccessful.

She said: “There are talks of a temporary solution to sort the road out for the next 10-15 years and an alternative for a permanent solution but there is no idea of what cost will be involved.”