A83 disruption as Rest and be Thankful hit by more landslides

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The main trunk road serving Argyll has once again been disrupted by landslides at the Rest and be Thankful, though recently-completed barriers to intercept debris coming down the hillside are said to have prevented the situation from being much worse.

Both the A83 and adjacent old military road local detour were periodically closed for safety reasons over the weekend from Friday February 19 as heavy rain fell across Argyll.

The deluge triggered a number of debris flows, reaching both roads through Glen Croe.

By first light on Monday February 22 debris has been cleared and conditions had improved enough to allow the old military road (OMR) to re-open under convoy, but with an unstable hillside and another spell of wet weather predicted over the next two days, the prospect of even the OMR remains in the balance.

Trunk road management firm BEAR Scotland said that the OMR was closed as a precaution late afternoon on Saturday, with heavy rain contributing to high saturation on the hillside and significant surface water on parts of the OMR.

Around 130mm of rain was recorded as falling at the Rest and Be Thankful between Friday and Sunday, with 280mm recorded in total throughout the week.

By Sunday February 21, debris had been identified at multiple locations along the hillside above the A83. BEAR Scotland said that a newly-constructed bund, a debris fence and two roadside catch-pits caught nearly 700 tonnes of material between them, ‘preventing significant material from inundating the trunk road’.

Around 250 tonnes of silt and debris missed the bund and was deposited on the OMR as a result of material being washed down the lower hillside channels by the substantial amount of surface water.

Eddie Ross of BEAR Scotland said: ‘Initial assessments indicate that almost 700 tonnes of debris has been collectively prevented from inundating the A83 following the recent significant heavy rainfall.

‘Whilst the new OMR bund has been successful in retaining debris, the OMR has been affected by a significant deposit of material at a section not covered by the bund.

‘We’re continuing with a safety-first approach and we thank all road users as well as the local community for their continued patience while we work to address the ongoing situation at the Rest.’