Glasgow & West Scotland

Rest and Be Thankful closed over weekend after heavy rain

Landslip at Rest and Be Thankful Image copyright Traffic Scotland
Image caption Heavy rain on Friday morning caused a fresh landslip

The A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll will remain closed over the weekend after the heavy rain caused fresh landslips.

BEAR Scotland said about 300 tonnes of new debris reached the A83 and 50 tonnes ended up on the Old Military Road.

Both roads have been closed since Tuesday and further rain is forecast.

Engineers had earlier managed to secure the last of three boulders left exposed above the road.

Image copyright Bear Scotland
Image caption Engineers have been working on the Rest and Be Thankful since Tuesday

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: "The landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful this week have been some of the most challenging in recent memory both for the community and for the teams working in difficult conditions."

Mr Matheson visited the area on Friday morning and was struck by the scale of the challenge facing road workers, engineers and the police.

He said: "It is a dynamic situation on the hillside, there are warnings of further heavy rain and while every effort is being made to get traffic moving, today's events reinforce the need for a safety first approach.

"I understand that local residents and businesses are being inconvenienced as a result of these events and I would like to thank them for their patience during the disruption.

"Every effort is being made to clean-up the debris and I appreciate the huge efforts of the recovery teams and police.

On Thursday engineers used hydraulic gear to drill into the rocks and break them into smaller pieces.

The largest boulder, which was 300m above the roadside, was estimated to weigh about 75 tonnes.

A 60-mile diversion has been in place since Tuesday and the A83 and Old Military Road remain closed.

Bear Scotland said more than 2,500 tonnes of landslide debris reached the catch-fences above the carriageway during severe weather in the area earlier in the week.

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Media captionDrone shots reveal scale of landslides on A83 (Footage courtesy of Geo-rope)

Tommy Deans, BEAR Scotland's north west network manager, said: "Safety remains our top priority, and although we had prepared the Old Military Road so that it was ready to open today, the further landslips this morning mean that this can no longer happen.

"With Storm Callum and further forecasts of heavy rain in coming days, it is not considered safe to open the Old Military Road this weekend.

"Teams continue to work tirelessly to assess the risk of further landslips, clear debris that has reached the A83, Old Military Road and the nets above the A83."

He stressed "everything possible" is being done to get the Old Military Road open.

Mr Deans added: "We encourage road users to follow the diversion route via Dalmally in the meantime, and to plan ahead by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date journey information."

On Thursday local SNP MP Brendan O'Hara called on the Scottish government to provide more investment to tackle the transport and economic problems surrounding the A83.

Mr Matheson said work has already begun on a further £2m worth of additional landslide mitigation measures and confirmed the A83 taskforce will meet soon to discuss improvement to the route.

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