Glasgow & West Scotland

Clean-up starts after A83 Rest and Be Thankful landslip

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe road has been blocked by landslips five times in the last five years

Work is underway to clear a landslip-hit road in Argyll and Bute after about 1,000 tonnes of debris was dumped onto the carriageway.

The Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83 was closed on Wednesday after the slip followed a period of heavy rain.

The road was deemed "too dangerous to clear" until Thursday afternoon following several other slips.

A long diversion - adding up to 50 miles to some journeys - is in place. It runs via the A83, A819, A85 and A82.

The route has a history of being blocked by landslips with closures in 2007, 2009, 2011 and again earlier this year.

Machinery to clear the latest slip could not be allowed on to the road until experts had declared in safe.

Local politicians said the issue was having a bad effect on the local economy.

About £700,000 has been spent at the Rest and Be Thankful on measures to prevent landlsips, including hillside netting, a new culvert and drainage system and monitoring equipment.

Work is also due to start at the end of August on a diversion route along the nearby old military road. This upgrade is expected to take 12 weeks.

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid said the latest closure had come at a bad time of year for businesses dependent on tourism.

He said Transport Scotland had previously assured that the diversion route would be in place "before the landslip season, which is known to start in August".

Councillor Donald Kelly of the Argyll First group said the Scottish government needed to act, adding: "The impact (of landslip diversions) is immense.

"It adds cost to transportation and puts a strain on business.

'Large boulders'

"We really need to have the alternative diversionary route in place by the autumn at the very latest this year, but we also need a plan of action to address the issues of the Rest and Be Thankful."

The Transport Scotland spokesman added: "It is now believed that up to 1,000 tonnes of debris have fallen onto the road, with more material coming down the slope overnight, including large boulders.

"The A83 will remain closed at the Rest and Be Thankful until the clear-up operation is complete. Our absolute priority is the safety of motorists and we appreciate their continuing patience.

"We are also well aware of the concerns of the local community and every effort is being made to deliver a safe emergency route as a matter of urgency."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites