Rest and Be Thankful reopens five weeks after Argyll landslide

Cars make their way through traffic lights as the A83 reopened on Monda morningPictures by BEAR SCOTLAND

The A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful has reopened today, under traffic light control, following a major programme of complex repair work being completed. This follows a significant landslip last month which blocked the road.

Temporary traffic lights will remain in place for safety, as engineers are continuing with work to construct further mitigation measures.  A temporary debris barrier has been erected to protect road users and a catch-pit is being excavated at the foot of the channel to provide further resilience on the route.

Local MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed the news of the reopening but has said work still needs to be done to identify a permanent solution to the continued problems on the road, so that local residents and businesses do not have to face constant road closures in future.

The MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven Jackie Baillie MSP for Helensburgh and Lomond said: “I want to thank the team of workers, who have been working hard since the A83 closure to get the road reopened safely.  Like many local residents and businesses, I welcome the reopening of the A83, which is a vital piece of road linking Argyll & Bute with the West of Scotland.

“It is essential though that the A83 Taskforce works towards a permanent solution to deal with the continued problems on the road.  The consequences of not finding a permanent solution will devastate the Argyll & Bute economy and continue the huge delays that many frustrated local residents have to put up with, which would be simply unacceptable.”

The A83 trunk  road closed on 2 August after 100mm (4in) of rain caused about 10,000 tonnes of debris to move down the hillside.

One of the road’s catch-pits managed to stop 2,000 tonnes of earth reaching the carriageway but 1,500 tonnes hit the A83.  Another 2,000 tonnes reached the Old Military Road in a valley below the mountain.

During the clean-up operation, a helicopter was used to remove boulders the size of cars from the road. and to stabilise others on the hillside.

The road finally reopened under traffic light control at 10:25 on Monday after a final Police Scotland safety inspection.  The complex repairs will continue on the hill.

Bear Scotland, which manages the road, said the temporary traffic lights would remain in place while engineers construct further mitigation measures.

road closure
A team of 50 worked to repair the damage on the hill

A temporary debris barrier has been erected to protect road users and a catch-pit is being excavated to provide further resilience on the route.

A team of 50 worked for 24 hours a day to complete the programme of repairs, while keeping the Old Military Road running safely as a diversion.

Bear Scotland’s Eddie Ross was delighted to get the road open again.

He said: “Teams from multiple organisations have worked round the clock in all conditions to complete the programme of complex repairs in the area and keep the Old Military Road and other routes into Argyll open.

“Engineers will continue to carry out further mitigation work on the hillside above the road as well as at the next catch-pit location to provide further landslip resilience on the A83.

“As ever, we thank the local community for their patience and support while we worked to address the repairs at the Rest and encourage them to drive safely through the Rest and Be Thankful as teams complete the remaining mitigation work at the site.”

The section of the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful has been plagued by landslides in recent years.

Helicopter at A83 Rest and Be Thankful
A helicopter was called in to assist with the clear up

More than £79.2m has been invested in the maintenance of the route since 2007.

In January the road was closed for two days after being covered by 1,300 tonnes of debris.

Argyll and Bute Council has called for a permanent solution to the problem.

The latest repairs included constructing a new culvert beneath the road as well as installing a new concrete retaining wall anchored to the ground using eight-metre-long rods.

Work was also carried out to stabilise and secure the hillside above the carriageway. A new road safety barrier and roadside drainage system was also installed on the road with the carriageway then resurfaced to allow vehicles to safety pass.

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