For the first time in two months – but in convoy – one of Scotland’s major roads plagued by landslides will reopen.
As part of a strategy to use the main road during the day when weather conditions permit, the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful will reopen on Friday morning.
The Old Military Road (OMR) one-lane alternate route will be used at night, also on a one-way system with drivers escorted along the route by an official vehicle.
Since a rain-caused landslide blocked the road in August, the key Highlands route has been open for only three weeks in the last five months.
A debris fence has been completed on the hillside above the A83 to provide further protection for road users, Transport Scotland’s contracted maintenance company Bear Scotland said.
In addition, the OMR will be protected by a barrier of £ 1 million, which is nearing completion and will provide motorists with “additional protection” during the dark hours.
Bear Scotland, however, has warned that heavy rain is forecast to begin next week, so use of the A83 will “remain under review” on Monday and Tuesday during the day.
As motorists have been dealing with disruption on the key Highlands route for decades, the situation has caused a stir.
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Motorists may have to wait up to ten years for a permanent solution to stop landslides on the iconic Scottish road, it has been revealed.
In the Scottish Road Network Landslides Study, written by the then Scottish Government, 15 years ago, the problems with landslides on the main Argyll road were highlighted.
Bear Scotland said its new strategy includes ensuring that, after a series of “safely managed” are implemented, traffic on the A83 or OMR is “mitigation measures”
From Friday onwards, motorists will be safely routed during daylight hours from 9 a.m. in a convoy on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful Up until 3:30 p.m. to “ensure traffic can safely pass the steep road gullies” when conditions allow, Bear said.
After that, all road users will be diverted during darkness via the OMR, which runs parallel to the A83 through Glen Croe, “to ensure they are safe at all times.”
The A83 was closed for safety reasons following a series of major landslides in 2020. Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s representative for the North West said, “We are pleased to be reopening the A83 during the day from tomorrow after teams have completed a series of mitigation works at road level and on the hillside above the route.
“As a safety precaution, Old Military Road will continue to be open to all road users overnight as it is difficult to safely monitor the slopes above the A83 during the hours of darkness. Motorist safety remains our top priority and we must ensure we do everything we can to keep road users safe at all times.
“With heavy rain forecast from Monday next week, it is likely that OMR will remain in operation during the day early next week, but we will continue to monitor conditions and ensure we put safety first.
“The temporary embankment on the OMR is nearing completion, which will help better protect road users on the alternate route, giving us greater confidence we can keep the route open should weather conditions deteriorate.
“Work is also continuing on the catchments adjacent to the A83, which will help to make the route more resilient.
“We will continue to closely monitor the weather forecast and conditions in the area, with geotechnical teams closely monitoring the slope.
“As always, we thank the local community and road users in advance for their patience while we do everything we can to address the ongoing situation at the rest stop.”
Since August, most traffic has been handled by an official vehicle on the OMR, but even that was frequently closed overnight because of fears that it, too, could be affected by landslides – leaving motorists with 60 miles of detour.
Ministers have previously been accused of wasting nearly £80 million on more than a decade of failed solutions to landslides on the road, after heavy rainfall most recently caused the road to be