Glasgow & West Scotland

Additional funding for A83 landslide mitigation works

Debris on carriageway Image copyright Bear Scotland
Image caption The Scottish government is undertaking work to improve the Old Military Road alongside the A83

A further £6.6m is to be invested in works on the A83, including £4m to mitigate landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful, it has been announced.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said lessons were being learned from recent landslides and weather conditions.

The road was closed earlier this month amid fears a 150-tonne boulder could fall onto the carriageway in Argyll.

The Transport Scotland funding brings the total investment in landslide mitigation on the road to £13.5m.

Mr Mackay announced the funding at a meeting of the A83 Task Force in Arrochar.

The programme of works to upgrade the route includes widening the Old Military Road, a common diversion route, and enhancing netting which the government said has prevented 2,300 tonnes of debris from tumbling onto the road.

'Horrendous conditions'

More than £50m has been invested in the road since 2007, which Mr Mackay said underlined the Scottish government's commitment to "keeping Argyll and Bute open for business".

He said: "The elements have thrown some horrendous conditions our way, especially at the end of last year with the wettest December on record.

"We are already learning lessons from the events that occurred as a result of the exceptional rainfall and the additional investment being outlined today will help strengthen our response further.

"We are listening to the concerns of the local community and taking action to further enhance the Old Military Road."

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Media captionCrews used explosives to break up a huge boulder teetering over the road

The road is periodically affected by landslides, with recent weather conditions during Storm Frank causing a number of closures.

Mitigation measures put in place prevented a 1,000 tonne landslide from closing the route early in December.

However, about 300 tonnes of debris blocked the road later in the month, and it was closed again in January while crews used explosives to break up a 150-tonne rock which was teetering 175m (574ft) above the carriageway.

The road, which starts in Tarbet on the banks of Loch Lomond and is maintained by Bear Scotland, is almost 100 miles long and connects the central belt to the Kintyre peninsula.

Image copyright Neil McLean
Image caption Netting prevented 1,000 tonnes of rubble from reaching the road in December - but the route was later blocked

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