ONE of Scotland's key roads which has been plagued with landslides has shut three days after re-opening for the first time in two months.

The infamous A83 at Rest and be Thankful was being brought back into service from Friday morning as part of a strategy that was to 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) was to be used, which also is run through a single file convoy system, where drivers are escorted along the route.

But Transport Scotland's maintenance contractor Bear Scotland said they have had to close the A83 as a "safety precuation".

A Met Office yellow warning for heavy rain is in place across the west coast of Scotland until 6pm, and Bear said teams continue to closely monitor conditions in the area.

All traffic is now to be go by single-file convoy with an official escort vehicle through the OMR.

An assessment will be made on Tuesday morning to discuss whether the A83 can re-open.

READ MORE: A83 at Rest and be Thankful to re-open for first time in two months using escort system

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. Drivers have faced 59-mile diversions when both routes are closed.

Before the A83 re-opening on Friday, Bear 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.


Escorting vehicles on the OMR

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west representative said: “We’ve been closely monitoring the weather forecast and have decided to keep the A83 closed during the daytime today as a safety precaution, with traffic continuing to use the OMR as they had been during hours of darkness.

“We’ll review conditions in the area tomorrow morning and determine if it is safe to reopen the A83 during daylight hours as before.

“As ever we’re continuing to prioritise motorist safety at all times, and will ensure that we’re doing everything we can to address the ongoing situation at the Rest.”

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

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 last week their new strategy involved traffic being "safely convoyed" on the the A83 or OMR after a "series of mitigation measures" were implemented.

From Friday, motorists were to 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 were to 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.

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.