Calls for urgency after another landslide at Rest and Be Thankful

The scene after the most recent landslide

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Just six days after it reopened, the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful was closed again on Monday following another ‘significant’ landslide.

Less than six weeks after the road was closed at the same location because of a landslide, more than 2,000 tonnes of material landed on the A83, with some boulders and material reaching the Old Military Road (OMR) diversion route.

Trunk road operator BEAR Scotland had closed both roads overnight in anticipation of heavy rainfall on Sunday afternoon.

With both the A83 and OMR shut, traffic was diverted on to the A82 via Crianlarich and also the Western Ferries Clyde crossing before the OMR was reopened under convoy on Tuesday morning.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West representative said: ‘Around 75mm of rain fell in a few hours in the early hours of Sunday which triggered another significant landslide at the same location as the event on Tuesday August 4.

‘Much of this was caught in the temporary debris fence and debris pits however as the landslide event continued throughout Sunday those measures were overtopped onto the A83 with some reaching the OMR.

‘As ever, we thank the local community for their patience while we deal with this unprecedented situation.’

Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council leader, said: ‘The Scottish Government has committed to finding a permanent solution to this ongoing issue, but what is needed now is a date for that permanent solution to start.

‘There is huge disappointment and anger locally that the area has yet again been let down by the lack of progress. This weekend’s landslip has resulted in further disruption for many residents and businesses but this has been going for over a decade now.

‘Holding a public consultation is one thing but we need a timetable for construction from Scottish Government and detailed plans for when we can all expect to have a fully operational and safe trunk road for Argyll and Bute.’

Argyll First Councillor Donald Kelly said: ‘If the Scottish Government is genuinely  committed to a permanent solution it should be fast-tracked and implemented as a matter of urgency. As I have said before, if this was happening on the M8 it would have been addressed years ago.

‘Maybe the only way to force the government’s hand would be for a landslide to permanently block the A83. I would again encourage all elected members, businesses and the wider community to lobby the Scottish Government. It might be wearing to do so but we must continue to keep the pressure on and make our voices heard.’

Councillor John Armour said: ‘The decision has been made to have a permanent solution and while we rightly get very frustrated every time there is a landslide and the road is closed, and we would all like to see the solution in place right now, that is obviously not possible but it is going in the right direction at last.’

Councillor Rory Colville said: ‘Whilst a technical solution may be possible at this one point on the A83 the cost of providing safe passage will still not give any guarantee that further road closures will not continue until all the other road safety issues on the A83 are addressed.

‘Three out of the top ten trunk roads in Scotland with the worst safety records are in Argyll, the A83 being one. For that reason I hope serious consideration to finding an alternative route will be considered.’