A KEY Scottish road is to be out of action for longer than first thought as workers try to make it safe after two landslips at the end of October.

Maintenance firm BEAR Scotland had said they expected to have the A83 at Rest and be Thankful partially open by mid November once fence repairs have been complete.

But they have now confirmed there has been a further delay - and no timescale has yet been indicated over re-opening.

And it has emerged that a single-tracked alternative route could also be out of action until Thursday - leaving motorists on a 60-mile long diversion.

The important Highlands route has been open for barely three weeks since August 4 when a landslip brought about by rain blocked the road.

READ MORE: Key Scottish road to be shut for nearly two weeks after landslides

At the end of October, Storm Aiden brought around 90mm of heavy rain which caused two significant landslides at the key road, both of which were held back from reaching the A83 by the landslide debris fences on the hillside.

BEAR Scotland said the fences prevented the two significant landslips from reaching the A83.

But they said on November 4 that they now require a series of repairs to reinstate the impacted debris fences, clear them of material and restore them to their "full capacity to ensure the A83 remains protected".

The maintenance firm said that until this work is complete the A83 needs to remain closed "as a safety precaution".

The single-track Old Military Road (OMR) alternative route, which runs parallel to the A83 was to remain in use until repairs to debris fences impacted by landslips during Storm Aiden are completed.

But even it has had to be shut overnight on several occasions for safety reasons - leaving motorists to embark on a 60-mile diversion.

BEAR Scotland said that re-opening of the A83 has had to put off because of a storm expected through to Thursday.

A yellow Met Office warning for heavy rain issued for midnight tonight (Monday) until 3pm on Wednesday has been partly responsible for scuppering plans.

Between 75mm and 100mm of rain is forecast to fall in the area during the period.

The OMR will close again at 6pm this evening due to the "saturation on the hillside and the further very heavy rain forecast", said BEAR Scotland.

They said it is possible that it could remain closed until Thursday morning.

All traffic will be diverted between Tarbet and Inveraray via the A82, A85 and A819 when the OMR is closed.

BEAR Scotland said that during drier conditions today (Monday) engineers will be progressing with a programme of landslip mitigation measures above the A83 including the reinstatement of the debris fences damaged on 31 October during Storm Aiden.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative said: “Engineers remain on site progressing with a programme of landslip mitigation measures at the Rest. The work required to reopen the A83, which includes the reinstatement of debris fences damaged during Storm Aiden at the end of October, has progressed well despite the inclement weather. Reopening the route is however delayed due to the storm expected to impact the Rest and Be Thankful tonight through to Thursday.

READ MORE: £80m 'wasted' over multiple failed fixes to iconic A83 Rest and Be Thankful

“As ever we thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we do everything we can to progress with the ongoing situation at the Rest.”

Twelve days ago, the maintenance firm said they a series of repairs to reinstate the impacted debris fences were required, to clear them of material and restore them to their "full capacity to ensure the A83 remains protected".

Engineers said that until this work is complete the A83 needed to remain closed "as a safety precaution while these mitigation measures are restored".

The A83 was expected to reopen during daytime only under traffic light control from mid-November once fence repairs complete.

The mitigation work would see a continuation of operations to install a new debris fence at the steep channel formed above the route following major landslips in August and September.

Teams said 12 days ago that they were on track to complete this stage of "mitigation work" by the end of November, which will provide additional protection for the A83 and allow it to resume complete operation.

“Today we’re focusing on monitoring the scarred hillside at the Rest, which is an ongoing process that supports the safe operation of the OMR given the significant rainfall being experienced which has highly saturated the hillside," said Mr Ross “A weather front is moving in which is expected to bring consistently heavy rain for the next few days in the area, with the Met Office issuing a yellow warning from midnight tonight until 3pm on Wednesday.

“Road user safety is of paramount importance and we’ll make a final decision this afternoon with regards to the operation of the OMR in the coming days, after careful review of the forecast and information from our geotechnical team."

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.

Some locals have called for a public inquiry into the problems, with many saying a permanent solution must be found.

Transport Scotland published details of the 11 "corridor options" for a new route to replace the landslip-prone section of the A83 include building up to three bridges or tunnels.

But the choice of solution is not expected to be chosen till next year.