Once again, hopes of reopening one of the most popular roads in Scotland have been put on hold – with vehicles facing a 60-kilometer detour.
Maintenance company BEAR Scotland had said it was planned to open the A83 at Rest partially and be thankful by mid-November once the fence repairs were done.
But they announced earlier this week that there had been a further delay – and BEAR said yesterday that once the slopes had been thoroughly tested, they did not consider the timetable for reopening.
It has now been reported that “for safety reasons at this time” the A83 will remain locked. No timetable for a potential reopening was issued.
BEAR said that “when conditions improve” the prospect of reopening the A83 will be discussed and that next week there will be more updates.
“Inspections were conducted on the slope on Thursday, but given the level of water saturation and conditions of the slope, we continue to take a safety-first approach given the weather forecast,” BEAR said.
Due to a rain-caused landslide that blocked the road, the main Highlands route has been open for just short of three weeks over the past three and a half months.
The one-lane Old Military Road alternative route, meanwhile, will be closed overnight starting at 6 p.m. As a safety measure, Friday, as heavy rain is expected for tonight and the slope is saturated.
Slope investigations have revealed that the slope is heavily saturated after heavy rains earlier this week, according to BEAR. With more rain expected on Saturday night, it was decided, for safety reasons, to close the lane.
That means a 60-mile detour would have to be driven by motorists.
To assess if the OMR can be safely reopened, a safety inspection is scheduled to take place at dawn tomorrow (Saturday).
BEAR said engineers are “doing their best in difficult conditions” to advance work on the hillside above the A83, “which remains closed for safety reasons at this time”
For at least the next two days, 60-mile detours, as A83 remains closed at Rest and be grateful
“We have been investigating the slope and water saturation above the A83 in advance of the heavy rain expected this evening and, together with Transport Scotland, have taken the decision to close the OMR as a safety measure from 6pm this evening,” said Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s representative for the North West.
All traffic will be diverted between Tarbet and Inveraray from 6pm on the usual detour route.
Tomorrow morning, teams will perform a safety inspection to decide whether we can reopen the OMR safely. “Teams will carry out a safety inspection tomorrow morning to determine if we can safely reopen the OMR. ”
“As always, we thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we do everything we can to improve the situation at the service area.”
Ministers have previously been credited with spending nearly £ 80 million on more than a decade of ineffective solutions to roadside landslides, following many recent heavy rain slips.
Some residents have called for a public inquiry into the issues, with many suggesting that it is important to find a lasting solution.
Details of 11 ‘corridor options’ for a new route were published by Transport Scotland to replace the A83 landslide-prone section, including the construction of up to three bridges or tunnels.
A decision on a solution is not anticipated until next year, however.
If the A83 and Old Military Road are closed overnight, what alternate travel options are available at Rest and Be Grateful?
Western Ferries, the ferry company, can handle diverted traffic. Please contact www.western-ferries.co.uk on 01369 704452 for up-to-date details or email [email protected]
The standard detour route listed below from the closure points through Inveraray at Tarbet and Cairndow is usually quoted as being about 60 miles in length. The real extra travel time of the detour relies on where individuals come from and go to. When traveling from Glasgow to the south of Inveraray, it ranges from an additional 30 miles to an additional 60 miles when traveling from Glasgow to Lochgoilhead/Cowal. A shorter alternative route to Lochgoil provides ferry options (see above) via Gourock to Dunoon.