INVESTMENT in a vital road will soon reach nearly £40m with an additional £6m to mitigate the effects of the landslides which have closed the route nine times in recent years.

But the new money will also pay for other upgrading work on the A83 main arterial to mid-Argyll, Kintyre and the lifeline ferry connections to the islands of Gigha, Jura and Islay as well as the service to the north of Arran

Transport Minister Keith Brown told a meeting of the taskforce charged with improving the road, that the extra funding would allow new measures to be put in place now that repair work at worst-hit point the Rest and Be Thankful was nearing completion.

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An emergency diversion along The Old Military Road has now been established and was used in March for the first time. Meanwhile, the protective fencing has held up, stopping landslip material reaching the road on at least two occasions.

The focus of the efforts is now shifting to other landslide-risk areas. Investigations have been completed at Cairndow and Loch Shira as well as at Glen Kinglas and the new funding allocation will allow mitigation work to get under way there.

The remainder of the investment will help with delivery of other maintenance schemes on the A83, such as The Strone Point realignment and the trunking of the A83 from Kennacraig to Campbeltown.

Mr Brown said in the last seven years the Scottish Government had invested more than £32 million on the A83, not including the latest £6m.

He said: "We want the road to remain operational, whatever the conditions, and we have made landslide mitigation our priority.

"Solutions are being delivered by Transport Scotland, with almost £8 million spent around the Rest and Be Thankful in recent years."