CONTRACTORS have brought in a helicopter to help deal with clear up operation as a fresh 100 tonnes of debris fell on the iconic A83 Rest and be Thankful road.

One helicopter has been brought into deal with a 100 tonne boulder exposed on the hillside as motorists were sent on a 60-mile detour due to the closure.

Heavy rain on Tuesday saw thousands of tonnes of debris slide onto the road.

Engineers said about 6,000 tonnes of debris moved across the hill above the A83 and Old Military Road at multiple locations.

Car-sized boulders rolled onto the carriageway after 100mm of rain hit the Argyll hills.


Photos and video from BEAR Scotland

The road closure, which has caused anger in local communities due to a perceived Scottish Government failure to deal with the landslip danger, has meant that motorists had to go on a 60-mile detour.

READ MORE: It's the pits -  £80m taxpayers' money 'wasted' over multiple failed fixes to iconic Scots road

The helicopter is being used to make the boulder safe by using water bags to manoeuvre it into a safe location.

It emerged that overnight around 100 tonnes of further material reached the A83 roadside through a steep channel which had been scoured out by Tuesday evening’s landslip.

Roads maintenance contractor BEAR Scotland said teams are working to clear this by scanning the hillside for safety to check that no further material could impact on operations below.

A team of 42 people are continuing to work on both the A83 and the nearby Old Military Road (OMR) as well as to manage the traffic and ensure the diversion route is kept moving. 

Some 16 different vehicles have been deployed by specialists to help clear the OMR and A83 and allow full investigations of the damage to the road to continue.

The A83 and OMR remain closed with a standard diversion route in place via the A83, A82, A85 and A819. Western Ferries has also added additional sailings between Gourock and Dunoon to help accommodate motorists.


Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative  said: “We have rigorous geotechnical assessments underway on the site and are continuing investigations into how this area has been impacted by Tuesday’s landslide.

“A helicopter is being used to address a large boulder exposed on the hillside which is in the process of being made safe.

“We have a good weather window today so we’re pressing on as much as we can with the clear-up of the OMR and also to clear more material from the A83 so we can fully assess the extent of the damage. “This is a challenging process due to the amount of debris exposed and the embankments are being carefully monitored by personnel trained in scanning the hillside to alert for any further movements on the slope which could impact on any operations below.

“All efforts are in place to address the landslip as quickly as possible, however safety is paramount and we cannot open either the OMR or the A83 until we are absolutely satisfied that the routes are safe.

“Argyll remains open for business and we have extra support and patrols on the diversion route to ensure traffic is kept moving, and Western Ferries are continuing to offer additional sailings today to accommodate motorists.

“We thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we do everything we can to address the landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful.”