Discussions under way to improve resilience at Rest and be Thankful

The Old Military Road at the Rest and Be Thankful

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Following pressure from communities and Argyll and Bute Council, the Scottish Government has committed to finding a permanent solution for the Rest and Be Thankful.

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, made the announcement at the A83 Taskforce group today (Thursday August 27), convened at the request of the council, with cross party support from local parliamentarians.

The move was welcomed by those attending the meeting as a step in the right direction and urged further commitment to the urgent delivery of a solution.

Councillor Aileen Morton, leader of Argyll and Bute Council: ‘Our communities along with the council have lobbied Scottish Government for over a decade asking them to find a permanent solution to the ongoing issues that affect our major trunk road.

‘Whilst we are relieved there is now a recognised case for investment and a commitment to move away from temporary mitigation measures, we still need construction timescales and a date for the new route to open. It is simply not enough to talk about the options and agree a consultation phase.

‘For years, closure of the A83 has seriously impacted our communities. The early signs are encouraging but we must see swift progress maintained until the new route is fully operational.’

Following the meeting of the taskforce, Mr Matheson said: ‘I understand the frustration and disruption that landslips at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful bring for local communities and drivers.

‘While our previous investment in catch pits has helped keep the road open for an estimated 48 days when it would otherwise have closed, I realise people are looking for a long-term solution to dealing with landslips at the site.

‘I have instructed officials at Transport Scotland to accelerate our work to consider alternative infrastructure options for the A83. A dedicated team will be established to do a more detailed assessment, in parallel with the Strategic Transport Projects Review. Stakeholders will be involved in this process and we will publish recommendations for a preferred corridor in spring 2021.

‘In the meantime, work will continue on the next catch pit and we will continue to consider further catch pits at the site. A new geotechnical survey of the hillside will also be carried out to build on the previous work that has been done.

‘This work underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to continued work with key stakeholders to ensure that Argyll and Bute remains open for business.’

Work will begin on the next phase of catch pits in September. Proposals for further catch pits are being considered, and a new geotechnical survey of the site will be carried out.