Keith Brown oversees A83 landslide recovery work

Following the recent landslide, Transport Minister Keith Brown visited the Rest and Be Thankful today to see for himself the ongoing recovery work to get the A83 fully operational again.

Continuing poor weather conditions since the slip have severely hampered work by the crew of geotechnical engineers and specialist subcontractors who need to access the hillside and assess the risks of loose material and make safe any boulders. With improving conditions and specialist plant now airlifted into place, Mr Brown was able to see for himself from the air the challenges faced by the hillside crew to stabilise the area.

Speaking at Glen Croe where the recovery team are based, Mr Brown said:

“The recent landslide here at the Rest has posed another significant challenge not just for the team here working to ensure access through Argyll continues, but for local communities who need that access. Specialist plant has been dropped into place by helicopter throughout some very poor weather conditions, allowing stabilisation work of the slope to get under way. Having taken a flight in the team’s helicopter, I’ve seen for myself the difficulties faced to conclude that work and the scale and size of the challenge faced are clearer from the air than from the road in the valley below. With nearly three quarters of the work completed the team are making good headway to get to a position which will allow the A83 to be deemed safe to be opened again. Everything is being done with that goal in mind and to ensure Argyll stays open for business.

“With the hillside unable to be monitored in darkness, and the risk considered unacceptable to road users and their safety, it has again been agreed by BEAR, Police Scotland and Transport Scotland that the A83 will remain closed for the time being. Use of the Old Military Road as an emergency route which has proven to be very sucessful in ensuring daytime traffic under a traffic signal convoy system has safe access through the much shorter route through Glen Croe, will continue. Again to ensure road user safety, diversions will be put in place overnight with the emergency route closing during the hours of darkness and opening again at first light.

“This is the safest arrangement for road users and I’d like to thank everyone in the team for their work so far, but also the patience shown by the local community and other users of the A83.”

Eddie Ross BEAR Scotland Operating Company Representative for the North West has been co-ordinating operations on site over the weekend commented:

“Our team have worked tirelessly over the weekend both in operating the Old Military Road convoy operation and in dealing with the slope stability issues where good progress was made today to stabilise the dangerous boulders despite the poor weather and challenging terrain.

"Tomorrow’s weather forecast currently looks favourable and with an early start the aim is to complete the remaining works and open the A83 to traffic as soon as possible.

"We will also be moving immediately to start work on planned rock netting which was due to be installed in the forthcoming weeks as part of on-going landslide mitigation measures at the Rest and be Thankful above the A83 marking the final phases of the rolling programme of landslide risk reduction measures. These measures are being put in place by Transport Scotland to help reduce the risk of delays and road closures due to landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful and help support the local economy as a result.”

Local diversion route along the Old Military road will close between 6:30pm tonight and open at 7:00 am tomorrow morning. The standard diversion route will be re-established during this period when less traffic use the road.

Tomorrow improved weather is expected and work to stabilise the slope will continue apace. It is expected that the operation of the Old Military Road will continue in a similar pattern throughout this period.

BEAR will continue to provide further updates as required.

Notes to editors

Diversion Route -

A82/ A85 / A819: Westbound Turn right onto the A82 at Tarbet and follow the road until Crianlarich - Turn left onto A82 and continue until Tyndrum - Turn left onto the A85 and continue until Dalmally - Turn left onto A819 and follow the road until Inveraray. Thereafter follow permanent signing. Distance: 58.8 miles. Eastbound At Inveraray, turn left onto the A819 then follow the road until Dalmally - Turn right onto the A85 and continue until Tyndrum - Turn right onto the A82 and follow the road to Crianlarich - Turn right onto A82 and follow the road until Tarbet. Distance: 58.8 miles.

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Published 9 Mar 2014 Tags