HOPES of a re-opening of one of Scotland's key roads have been put back yet again - as motorists face 60-mile diversions.

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 confirmed earlier in the week that there has been a further delay - and BEAR said it will only consider timescales for re-opening yesterday after a full hillside review.

Now it has been confirmed that the A83 will remain closed "on the grounds of safety at this time". No timescale has been provided for a possible re-opening.

BEAR said the potential for re-opening of the A83 will be considered "when conditions improve" and further updates will be given next week.

“Inspections of the hill were conducted on the hillside on Thursday, however given the level of water saturation and conditions of the hillside we continue to implement a safety first approach given the weather forecast," BEAR said.

The important Highlands route has been open for barely three weeks in the last three-and-a-half months since a landslip brought about by rain blocked the road.

Meanwhile the single-tracked Old Military Road alternative route will close overnight from 6pm on Friday as a safety precaution due to heavy rain forecast this evening and saturation levels on the hillside.

BEAR said assessments of the slope have indicated that the hillside is highly saturated following the heavy rainfall experience earlier in the week, and with further rainfall expected overnight into Saturday, the decision has been taken to close the road as a safety precaution.

That leaves motorists with a 60-mile long road diversion.

A safety inspection is due to take place at first light tomorrow (Saturday) to determine if safe to reopen the OMR.

BEAR said engineers were "doing their best in challenging conditions" to progress mitigation works on the hillside above the A83, "which remains closed on the grounds of safety at this time".

READ MORE: 60-mile diversions for at least the next two days as the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful remains shut

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative said: “We’ve been assessing the hillside and water saturation levels above the A83 ahead of the forecast heavy rain expected tonight, and we’ve taken the decision along with Transport Scotland to close the OMR from 6pm tonight as a safety precaution.

HeraldScotland:

“All traffic will be diverted via the standard diversion route between Tarbet and Inveraray from 6pm overnight.

“Teams will carry out a safety inspection at first light tomorrow morning to assess if we can safely reopen the OMR. “We understand the frustration these closures are causing but we need to put road user safety first at all times.

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

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.

What alternative travel options are available at the Rest and Be Thankful when the A83 and Old Military Road are closed overnight?

Ferry provider Western Ferries can accommodate diverted traffic.   Up to date information available at www.western-ferries.co.uk by phone 01369 704452 or email enquiries@western-ferries.co.uk.

The standard diversion route from the closure points at Tarbet and Cairndow via Inveraray, outlined below, is normally detailed as being around 60 miles long.  The actual additional journey length of the diversion depends on where people are coming from and travelling to.  This varies from an additional 30 miles if travelling from Glasgow to South of  Inveraray to an additional 60 miles if travelling from Glasgow to Lochgoilhead/Cowal area. Ferry options (detailed above) via Gourock to Dunoon offer a shorter alternative route to Lochgoilhead / Cowal area.

The standard diversion route runs from the closure points at Tarbet to Cairndow, and is detailed below:

A82/ A85 / A819: Westbound: Turn right onto the A82 at Tarbet and follow the road until Crianlarich – Turn left onto A82 and continue until Tyndrum – Turn left onto the A85 and continue until Dalmally - Turn left onto A819 and follow the road until Inveraray. Thereafter follow permanent signing. Distance: 58.8 miles.

Eastbound: At Inveraray, turn left onto the A819 then follow the road until Dalmally – Turn right onto the A85 and continue until Tyndrum – Turn right onto the A82 and follow the road to Crianlarich – Turn right onto A82 and follow the road until Tarbet. Distance: 58.8 mile