Argyll and Bute remains open for business

Several thousand vehicles have made use of the Old Military Road (OMR) diversion route as the clear-up from the recent landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful continues.

The OMR, which ensures that the area is kept open for business, is more than 26 miles or thirty-eight minutes shorter than the traditional diversion route and saves road users, including hauliers, both time and fuel costs.

The majority of the debris has now been cleared from the A83 and all that remains are some large boulders on the hillside. They have to be secured or broken-up before the road is safe to use.

Thick fog has hampered work at the top of the hill and the weather forecast suggests this is expected to persist until Saturday.

As a result the Old Military Road Diversion will continue to be in use at the weekend.

Transport Scotland’s Head of Network Maintenance, Graham Edmond said:

“People traveling through Argyll and Bute have continued to use the Old Military Road diversion route successfully today. It is much shorter than the traditional diversion and it brings time and fuel savings.

“Everything possible is being done to get the debris from this landslide clear-up as efficiently and safely as possible.

“So far, 2000 tonnes of rock and mud has been removed with specialist equipment brought in from across the country. Some of the boulders have been extremely large and have had to be broken up before they can be transported.

“The safety of our staff and the traveling public is our top priority and with visibility being very poor today we couldn’t send our teams up the hillside and expose them to risk of injury.

“I would like to thank drivers in the area for the patience they have shown over the last few days and I want to reassure them that everything possible is being done to rectify the situation. This landslide is the largest that we have had on record and that brings enormous challenges but we are looking at every possible solution that will help us get the road network back to normal operation.”

Chair of the A83 Marketing Group, Mike Story said:

"Despite flooding in Oban, Loch Fyne and Lochawe bursting their banks and three landslips on the A83, Argyll and the Isles remain open for business.

“The area has proven as resilient as the debris nets on the Rest and be Thankful held back tonnes of debris, including car sized boulders. The Old Military road has allowed traffic to avoid a lengthy detour and my youngest daughter was able to go on her school trip to the Kelvin Grove Museum Via the A83.

“Western Ferries have been on standby to make sure the alternative route between Dunoon and Gourock is open to those folks travelling the mainland, and the press and social media channels have made sure that everyone is informed of developments as soon as possible.

“It is a tough blow to suffer this kind of weather, but once again the area and its businesses has proven that it deserves to use the hash tag # Argyll is open for business."

Published 30 Oct 2014