Year-long job to repair forest road now complete

The completed reinforcement works where the road was partly washed away.
The completed reinforcement works where the road was partly washed away.

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Work to stabilise a forest road that was partly washed away at the same time a landslide blocked the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful on January 29 2020 has been completed.

The road, which runs parallel to the A83 but higher up the slope, gives Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) access to forests and land that it manages at Glen Croe.

Last January’s event was the result of exceptionally heavy rain, that had caused a mini-slip that blocked an uphill drainage culvert. That saw water dam up, overflow the forest road and wash away more than 1,000 tonnes of debris that landed on the road.

What remained of the forest road after the January 2020 landslip.
What remained of the forest road after the January 2020 landslip.

FLS planning manager John Hair said: ‘The road blockage itself took a lot of clearing up and we initially focused on stabilising the landslip channel and constructing a catch-pit to prevent any more debris from reaching the road surface.

‘It was a seven days-a-week job to make the area safe, an operation that included having to underpin a 50-metre stretch of the forest road to strengthen it and prevent any further major collapse.

‘Once that had been completed, we were able to look at the longer term effort to carry out all the work required to make the forest road safe.

‘After drilling 300 steel bars 10 metres into the hillside, putting a concrete wall and beam in place, adding a guard rail and securing the downhill slope with 600m2 of steel mesh, our forest road is open again.’

FLS engineers will now reinstate the forest road by constructing an additional retaining wall above the road, widening the running surface and relocating the roadside drain.

Led by FLS, the team included the geotechnical engineers and consultants involved in resilience works elsewhere on the Rest and Be Thankful, and partners Transport Scotland and BEAR.