As staff attempt to make it safe after two landslides in late October, a major Scottish road would be out of service longer than first expected.
BEAR Scotland’s maintenance firm had said it would open the A83 at Rest in part and be thankful by mid-November, once fence repairs were done.
But it has now been reported that a further delay has occurred – and that a timetable for reopening has not yet been given.
And it has emerged that until Thursday, a single-lane alternate route could also be out of service – leading traffic to a 60-mile detour.
Since Aug. 4, when a rain-caused landslide blocked the road, the main Highlands route has been open for barely three weeks.
The Scottish Main Road was closed for almost two weeks after landslides
Storm Aiden brought around 90 mm of heavy rain in late October, triggering two major landslides on the important route, both of which were prevented by landslide fencing on the hillside from reaching the A83.
The fences prevented the two major landslides from hitting the A83, BEAR Scotland said.
BEAR Scotland said on Nov. 4 that a number of repairs are now needed to repair the damaged fences, clear them of material and restore them to full capacity in order to ensure that the A83 remains safe.
The maintenance company said that before this work is done, “for safety reasons.” the A83 would remain locked.
#A83 #RestAndBeThankful: OMR will close as a local detour route for road users, but due to heavy rain coming in at 6 pm tonight. The slope will be geotechnically examined during the day. Read more here: https://t.co/Vln8hfk6JT pic.twitter.com/qzbhWJAOMyyy
– November 16, 2020. – BEAR NW Trunk Roads (@NWTrunkRoads).
Until repairs to debris fences triggered by landslides during Storm Aiden is completed, the single-lane alternate Old Military Road (OMR), running parallel to the A83, was expected to remain in operation.
But for safety reasons, it, too, had to be closed several times overnight, forcing motorists to take a 60-mile detour.
BEAR Scotland said that because of a storm expected to last until Thursday, the reopening of the A83 had to be postponed.
The Met Office’s yellow heavy rain alert released for midnight tonight (Monday) until 3 p.m. on Wednesday has partially scuppered plans.
During this time, between 75 mm and 100 mm of rain in the area is predicted.
Due to’ saturation on the slope and more very heavy rain forecast,’ BEAR Scotland said, the OMR will close again at 6 p.m. tonight.
It is likely that it will remain closed until Thursday morning, they said.
All traffic will be routed via the A82, A85 and A819 between Tarbet and Inveraray when the OMR is closed.
BEAR Scotland said that engineers would begin a program of landslide mitigation work above the A83 in dry weather today (Monday), including the reinstatement of debris fences damaged during Storm Aiden on October 31.
Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s northwest delegate, said, “Engineers continue to work on a landslide mitigation measures program on the Rest on site.” Despite the bad weather, work to reopen the A83, which involves repairing debris fencing damaged during Storm Aiden in late October, has progressed well. “The reopening of the route, however, has been postponed due to the storm, which is expected to strike “Rest and Be Thankful” on Thursday night.
‘£80 million lost’ on A83 Rest and Be Grateful because of some poor repairs’
“As always, we thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we do all we can to improve the situation at Rest and Be Thankful.”
The maintenance company said twelve days ago that a series of repairs were needed to restore the damaged debris fences, clear them of material and restore them to “full capacity to ensure the A83 remains protected.”
Engineers said that the A83 would need to remain closed as a safety precaution before this work is finished, until these mitigation measures are restored.
It is expected that once the fence repairs are finished, the A83 will reopen only during the day in mid-November under traffic light power.
A new one during the defusing work,