OMR alternative ‘under investigation’ as Rest reopens 24 hours a day

The A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, top, with the Old Military Road below.

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A temporary alternative to the Old Military Road (OMR) is under investigation to provide a diversion when the new A83 Rest and Be Thankful route is being built, according to a council report.

In addition to ongoing plans to fix the A83 with a proposed permanent solution at Glen Croe, Transport Scotland is investigating creating a temporary alternative route to the OMR while the main road is being constructed.

The OMR is used when the notorious stretch of the A83 is closed but any alternative to it could take up to 18 months to design, then three to four years to construct, according to a report due to go before a virtual meeting of Argyll and Bute Council yesterday (Thursday April 15).

Five main options for the new replacement route through Glen Croe are also outlined in the report, with construction on that estimated to take between seven and 10 years.

A consultation is running on those options until Friday May 28.

Council executive director Kirsty Flanagan said in the report: ‘Transport Scotland is  considering alternative interim routes to be used rather than the Old Military Road.

‘The purpose of these routes is to provide resilience and divert traffic during the construction of the permanent solution.

‘The routes being considered are within land in the ownership of Scottish Ministers.

‘It is understood this would effectively replace the Old Military Road and would be constructed to eliminate the steep gradients and hairpin bends that exist on the upper section of the OMR.

‘It is also understood this route is being designed to provide more resilience reducing the reliance of the diversion route.

‘Whilst the timescale is yet to be finalised, Transport Scotland is anticipating an interim route could be designed within approximately 18 months and constructed within three to four years, depending on the extent of work involved.

‘Due to this being a temporary interim solution, normal trunk road design standards will not necessarily apply.’

Kintyre and the Islands councillor Robin Currie, the council’s leader, has previously called for a permanent solution to problems at the Rest and Be Thankful within the term of the next Scottish Parliament.

24-hour opening for A83 at Rest

The A83 trunk road at the Rest and Be Thankful is to remain open 24 hours a day when weather and hillside conditions allow, BEAR Scotland has said.

It follows a successful week-long trial last week that allowed teams to look at what is required to safely operate the A83 overnight and to review its monitoring processes to help identify any concerns on the hillside during poor weather.

The Old Military Road was brought into use as a precaution last Thursday night due to increased heavy rain showers.

But the switch was made with ‘minimal disruption’ to road users, it said.

The OMR will remain on standby as an alternative route through Glen Croe should conditions take a turn for the worse.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative, said: ‘After reviewing our processes and monitoring techniques for keeping the A83 operational 24 hours a day, we’re content to keep the route open continuously under convoy when weather conditions allow.

‘This will allow more reliable journey times for road users and help to minimise disruption while we continue with work to strengthen landslip mitigation measures in place at the Rest.’