For a permanent solution to avoid landslides on a famous Scottish road that some fear has been permanently closed, motorists will have to wait up to ten years.
Although Transport Scotland declined to offer a timeline to fix the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful service area, several people who attended stakeholder meetings have stated that work on the new route would not start for a minimum of five years. And then it may be five more years before the alternative is constructed.
Among motorists who have already suffered decades of obstacles on the critical Highlands road, the situation has caused an uproar.
Rest and Be Thankful A83: No schedule to reopen the iconic Scottish route.
Some of those who attended meetings with Transport Minister Michael Matheson disagree with Bear Scotland and the Scottish Government’s maintenance company’s statements that the situation is’ unprecedented.’
That may indicate that in the Scottish Road Network Landslides Report, written in part by the then-Scottish government, 15 years ago, issues with landslides at the site were highlighted.
Since a rain-caused landslide closed the road in early August, the main Argyll arterial has been open for only three weeks in the past five months. A reopening date has not been given yet.
Instead, maintenance staff plan to spend £ 1 million on a barrier to secure the single-lane Old Military Road, the original alternative route.
That means that on the single-lane road through Glen Croe, traffic will be safely redirected by an official vehicle. But even that was sometimes shut down overnight because of concerns that landslides could impact it too – leaving vehicles with 60 miles of detour.
The A83, from Glasgow to the Kintyre Peninsula down to Campbeltown, connects the Central Belt via the A82.
The Rest and Be Grateful is the highest point on a 10-mile scenic route running from Tarbet to the A83 junction with the B828.
“Rest & Be Thankful”Rest & Be Thankful.
The 2005 analysis of landslides on the Scottish road network pointed to instability, a medium-grade metamorphic rock produced from mudstone or shale, ‘including debris flows, in many areas underlain by shale.’
The A83 close Rest and Be Grateful, the A83 Loch Shira, the A890 Stromeferry and the A87 near Invermoriston were strong examples of “such instability”
“An obvious hazard area where such action would be appropriate is the A83 in the Rest and be Thankful area.”The A83 in the Rest and Be Thankful area is an obvious hazard area where such action would be appropriate.
Seven years later, research on permanent and short-term solutions were commissioned by Transport Scotland, as concerns about road landslides have long led to road closures.
Flashback to the cleaning recently completed. Source: BEAR Schottland
In the 2005 landslide study, a report co-authored by a landscape architect for Transport Scotland called the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful as one of the “highest ranked sites”
Since then, ministers have been accused, after many slides this year that were caused by heavy rainfall, of spending nearly £ 80 million on more than a decade of unsuccessful solutions to the landslide issue.
Some residents have called for a public investigation into the issue and are calling for a permanent solution.
Iain Jurgensen, president of the Argyll and The Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC), who attends the meetings of stakeholders, said that there was always a solution to redirect the road over an existing path that did not have the same slippage issues, and was one of those alarmed by the problem-solving schedule.
“It’s not unprecedented, it was inevitable what happened here,” said Mr. Jurgensen, who is also the general manager of Portavadie, the famous resort overlooking Loch Fyne.
What’s changed is that we’ve been waiting for things to fall apart, and now they want to kick it up a notch. Now they’re so worried that someone could get something bad that their default stance is not to open it up.