AN iconic Scottish road is to remain closed after another landslip left 2000 tonnes of debris strewn onto the key Highlands artery.

Communities were told on August 13 that the A83 Rest And Be Thankful was expected to be shut for a further three weeks after the last landslip amid heavy rain on August 4.

Road management and maintenance organisation BEAR Scotland said seven days after it had re-opened after the earlier landslip, that the carriageway had been undermined after material was washed away from beneath the road and embankment.

But another landslip at the weekend has left the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful was covered in earth and debris as 75mm (3in) of rain fell in 24 hours.

Ministers have previously been accused of wasting nearly £80 million on more than a decade of failed solutions to landslides on the road after the latest multiple slips in heavy rainfall.

The Scottish Government was due to look at re-route solutions on the vital route for Argyll and Bute after a string of failed attempts to deal with the issue including the use of large catch pits.


Road operator Bear Scotland said the A83 and the nearby old military road would remain closed on Sunday night.

It added that the landslide had continued through the day and engineers were unable to conclude safety assessments.

Now Bear Scotland has said the A83 and the Old Military Road (OMR) local diversion will remain closed today and overnight into Tuesday following the landslide.  
Clearance of the debris has now started after the go-ahead from geotechnical engineers.

Further material has also reached the bunding previously formed to protect the Old Military Road with some boulders and material reaching the OMR itself.

The further disruption has prompted disgust by many who depend on the road who have objected to the continuing impasse over a permanent solution.

One shared Facebook post said: "Why is our MSP Michael Russell and our MP Brendan O'Hara not at the very least instigating a public enquiry into the disaster at the Rest and be Thankful."

Bear Scotland said that initial indications are that the wall constructed to support the A83 following the landslide on August 4 landslide has "performed well2 and is relatively undamaged.

"These clearance works will continue throughout the day, particularly the removal of boulders and slurry which still have the potential to impact the OMR," the maintenance body said.

A further review will be undertaken on Tuesday morning when a clearer indication is to be given as to the reopening of the OMR and the A83.

Motorists instead face an up to 60 mile diversion via the A82, A85 and A819. Western Ferries are providing an extra ferry on the Gourock to Dunoon route.

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west representative said: “With exceptionally heavy rain forecast on Saturday night and Sunday morning we took the decision to proactively close the A83 and OMR on safety grounds.

"Around 75mm of rain fell in a few hours in the early hours of Sunday which triggered another significant landslide at the same location as the event on the Tuesday 4  August.

"Much of this was caught in the temporary debris fence and debris pits however as the landslide event continued throughout Sunday those measures were overtopped onto the A83 with some reaching the OMR. In drier conditions today we have started the clear up operation which will continue throughout today. 

"On Tuesday will review progress and advise on the potential for reopening the Old Military Road local diversion and also have a clearer view of the work required to reopen the A83.

“As ever, we thank the local community for their patience while we deal with this unprecedented situation. Argyll, of course,  remains open for business via the diversion route and via the extended Dunoon to Gourock ferry services.”
Gourock ferry services.”