A debris flow shelter estimated to cost up to half a billion pounds is being planned for Rest route
A long-term solution has been unveiled for the A83, one of Scotland’s most notorious roads, at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll.
A debris flow shelter is to be developed for the landslip-prone major artery road connecting the west of the country with the Highlands, at a cost of up to £470 million.
It will cover a length of approximately 1.4km and is designed to protect road users and infrastructure from falling rock and debris.
Similar to a tunnel with one open side, they have been successfully used across Europe and beyond for several years.
The solution follows design and assessment work on five options through the Glen Croe valley.
An online exhibition has gone live today where the public can view and comment on the preferred route option.
Public exhibitions will be held for four days from June 12 in Arrochar and then Lochgilphead, where the Transport Scotland project team and technical advisors will be available to answer questions on the proposals for the route.
Minister for transport Kevin Stewart MSP, pictured right, said: “The Scottish Government has been working tirelessly to find a long-term solution to the landslip risks at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful.
“The identification of the preferred route option through the Glen Croe valley is a very important milestone in finding a solution to this long-standing problem. The proposed new debris flow shelter will help protect the road and road users from future landslides.
“We want to hear from the public on our proposals and both the online exhibition and public exhibitions in two weeks are your opportunity to tell us what you think.
“Work will now be taken forward at pace to further develop our proposals, including the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option along with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment, draft Road Orders and draft Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Work taking place following a landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful.
“At the same time as progressing the long-term solution, we are looking to increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route along the existing Old Military Road, having identified the preferred route solution for it late last year.
“The first phase of implementing the medium-term solution will begin later this year with realignment of the southern end of the route. This will increase resilience of the temporary diversion route by reducing the likelihood of closures due to flooding, meaning more certainty for locals and road users if the A83 has to shut due to adverse weather conditions.
“I am looking forward to chairing the next meeting of the A83 Taskforce later in June and updating the members on progress.
“These developments underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to work with key stakeholders and local communities and ensure that Argyll & Bute remains open for business.”
Details of the public exhibitions are as follows:
The Three Villages Hall, Arrochar, G83 7AB
Monday June 12 – 12pm to 7pm
Tuesday June 13 – 10am to 5pm
Lochgilphead Baptist Church Hall, Lochgilphead, PA31 8LP
Wednesday June 14 – 12pm to 7pm
Thursday June 15- 10am to 5pm
Meanwhile, reports Bill Heaney, Jackie Baillie has welcomed the publication of the long-term solution for the A83 and called on the Scottish Government to accelerate work on the route.
Ms Baillie, left, said: “I welcome the publication of these plans which will be a relief to people who have been impacted by the well-documented problems on the Rest and Be Thankful over a number of years.
“People who live, work and trade in our local communities need to see progress on this quickly. Their views are vital in shaping this project but they can be gathered swiftly as they are desperate for change to the current situation.
“They have waited years and should not have to wait any longer than necessary.
“As the road is likely to be closed for the construction of the shelter, Transport Scotland must set out clear plans about the extent of the disruption; the timescale for construction and what alternative routes will be in use.
“The SNP Government have dragged their heels on this project and promised this announcement in spring 2023. By my calculation, and as the current bright and warm weather would suggest, we are already into summer.
“It is high time they get to work on making it happen and fast to prevent any further misery for those who rely on the A83.”