Glasgow & West Scotland

A83 Rest and Be Thankful: Road reopens after boulder explosion

Engineers drilled holes in the rock and inserted explosives Image copyright Bear Scotland
Image caption Engineers drilled holes in the rock and inserted explosives

The A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll has has reopened a day after a controlled explosion broke up a 150-tonne rock that was a threat to safety.

The huge 4m by 4m boulder, about 175m above the carriageway, was loosened during Storm Frank last week.

Engineers broke it apart on Wednesday afternoon. The road re-opened after 11:00 on Thursday following a safety inspection and the clearing of debris.

Traffic signals are in place while work continues around the area.

Poor weather conditions had hampered efforts to blow up the rock throughout Wednesday but the controlled explosion eventually went ahead at about 16:35.

Engineers broke it up using explosives inserted into 30 holes that had been drilled into the rock.

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Media captionDebris from the blast means the A83 and Old Military Road will remain closed to traffic overnight

Road maintenance firm Bear Scotland said the boulder was split into smaller pieces which had now been "stabilised" on the hillside.

They said one lane of the A83 would remain closed to allow teams to carry out debris fence repair work.

Eddie Ross, from Bear Scotland, said: "The A83 has now reopened after teams worked hard in challenging conditions to stabilise the rock above the A83.

"We thank motorists for their patience whilst we did everything to make the situation safe and get the road opened as quickly as possible."

Image caption The huge boulder is about 175m above the A83

Road operator Bear Scotland initially closed the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful after about 200-300 tonnes of debris crashed on to the carriageway during Storm Frank on Wednesday 30 December.

It reopened but then closed again on Monday after geotechnical assessors highlighted safety concerns over the boulder.

The A83 is of huge importance to communities in the Argyll area as it connects the Central Belt, via the A82 from Glasgow, to the Kintyre peninsula, all the way down to Campbeltown.

The road, which starts in Tarbet on the banks of Loch Lomond, is almost 100 miles long.

The Rest and Be Thankful is a pass about 10 miles from Tarbet between Glen Kinglas from Glen Croe.

It is regularly affected by landslips during severe weather conditions.

Before the Old Military Road diversion route was put in place, motorists had to add more than 50 miles to their journey by taking a diversion via Dalmally.

Throughout the latest closure the Old Military Road diversion has been in use between 09:00 and 16:30, but closed overnight for safety reasons.

Image copyright Traffic Scotland

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