ONE of Scotland's key roads which has been plagued with landslides is to re-open for the first time in two months - but using a convoy system.

The A83 at Rest and be Thankful is being brought back into service from Friday morning as part of a strategy that will see the the main road used during the day when weather conditions permit.

During the night-time, the single track alternative route, the Old Military Road (OMR) will be used, which also is run through a single file convoy system, where drivers are escorted along the route by an official vehicle.

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

Transport Scotland-appointed maintenancy firm Bear Scotland said a debris fence had been completed on hillside above A83 to provide further protection to road users.

They are also adding further protection for the OMR through a £1m barrier which is nearing completion which will provide "additional protection" to motorists during hours of darkness.

But Bear Scotland have warned that heavy rainfall is forecast at the start of next week so the daytime use of the A83 on Monday and Tuesday "will be kept under review."

The situation has cause uproar with motorists having already had to deal with decades of disruption over the important Highlands route.

READ MORE: Rest and Be Thankful: Officials confirm there will be no landslide solution for 10 years

The Herald revealed that motorists may need to wait up to ten years for a permanent solution to stop landslides on the iconic Scots road.

Issues with landslides at the key transport artery in Argyll were highlighted in the Scottish Road Network Landslides Study part authored by then Scottish Executive - 15 years ago.


Bear Scotland said their new strategy involves traffic being "safely convoyed" on the the A83 or OMR after a "series of mitigation measures" were implemented.

From Friday, motorists will be safely convoyed in single file along the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful during daylight hours, 9am to 3.30pm, "ensuring traffic can be safely managed" past the steep roadside channels during daylight hours when conditions allow, says Bear.

After than all road users will be diverted via the OMR which runs parallel to the A83 through Glen Croe, during the hours of darkness "to ensure they are kept safe at all times".

The A83 has been closed for safety due to a series of major landslips experienced throughout 2020. Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west representative said: “We’re pleased to reopen the A83 during the daytime from tomorrow after teams have completed a series of mitigation measures at road level and on the hillside above the route.

“As a safety precaution, the Old Military Road will continue to be used overnight for all road users due to the difficulties in being able to safely monitor the slopes above the A83 during the hours of darkness. Motorist safety remains our top priority and we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep road users safe at all times.

“With heavy rain forecast from Monday next week, it’s likely the OMR will remain in use during the daytime early next week, however we’ll continue to monitor conditions and ensure we’re putting safety first.

“The temporary bund on the OMR is nearing completion which will help provide greater protection to road users on the alternative route, giving us greater confidence in being able to keep the route open should weather conditions deteriorate.

“Work also continues on the catch-pits next to the A83, which will help provide greater resilience to the route.

“We’ll continue to closely observe the weather forecast and conditions in the area, with geotechnical teams closely monitoring the hillside.

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

Since August most traffic was being convoyed by an official vehicle on the OMR but even that has been frequently shut overnight because of fears that even it could be hit by landslides - leaving motorists with 60-mile detours.

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.

In September, Transport Scotland published 11 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 till next year.

The new solutions being considered include building new fixed link crossings at Loch Long, Gare Loch and the Firth of Clyde, which also include building a new road in the glen behind the current route.

Others include new crossings from near West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, to Bute via Little Cumbrae, and further crossings either over the Firth of Clyde from Rothesay to Toward, or from Rhubodach to Colintraive. Argyll and Bute Council is among those who have registered their concerns about the way the issues with the A83 have been handled.