Rest and Be Thankful road was hit by seven landslips

clear up

By Bill Heaney

Seven landslips led to 9,500 tonnes of debris crashing onto the A83 in Argyll and Bute over the weekend.

Road management operator Bear Scotland said new hillside catch pits trapped a further 2,500 tonnes of rock and mud.

A month’s worth of rainfall – about 160mm (6in) – fell over 36 hours, forcing the road to be closed at the Rest and Be Thankful.

Ten people had to be airlifted from their vehicles at the height of the bad weather.

Bear Scotland said work was now “well under way” to clear the affected sections of the A83.

However, road closures will remain in place between Inveraray and Tarbet due to landslips on both sides of Dunoon junction.

The hard closure point is at Ardgarten, with road closure signs placed at Tarbet.

The diversion via A819/A85/A82 at A85 Dalmally is open.

The Old Military Road is unaffected, but access on the local road network is restricted.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has warned people to stay safe as flooding concerns remain around the country.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warnings for heavy rain in the west of Scotland between 06:00 and 21:00 on Tuesday.

Bear Scotland’s Ian Stewart said: “The scale of the operation to clear the A83 is considerable, but the teams on site are working hard and for as long as they can safely do so.

“We’re working with partners to assess current conditions and continue the clean up in advance of further rain forecast on Tuesday.

“We want to thank local residents in the area for their patience. Our priority is to get the road open again as soon as possible, while ensuring the safety of those on site.”

landslips on hill
Thousands of tonnes of rock and mud slid off the hills.

Transport Scotland announced in June that a mile-long tunnel costing £470 million is to be built to protect vehicles from landslips on the A83.

The 100-mile stretch of road, which connects the Mull of Kintyre and southern Argyll to the shores of Loch Lomond, has regularly been closed by falling rocks and debris in recent years.

The closures can leave motorists facing long detours while the route is cleared.

debris flow shelter
An artist’s impression of the tunnel which would run for nearly a mile to protect vehicles from falling rocks on the road to the West Highlands.

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