A TRIAL examining whether a notorious lifeline Scots road can open for 24 hours a day was disrupted - after it had to be shut down yet again as a safety precaution due to an intense period of rainfall.

The plan to re-open the infamous landslip-prone A83 at Rest and be Thankful would involve traffic being escorted in single file in both directions for the whole day.

The test was due to take place on Monday for two days but has now been extended to the start of next week to cover a period of unsettled weather.

But Transport Scotland-appointed road maintenance contractors Bear Scotland has confirmed that the trial had to be paused from 5pm on Thursday after heavy rain and high winds increased throughout the afternoon.

Traffic was diverted onto the single track alternative route, the Old Military Road (OMR), where drivers are escorted in single file.

A safety inspection took place at first light on Friday morning with the A83 reopened for all road users at around 7.30am.

Bear Scotland said the trial 24-hour operation of the A83 has now resumed and that teams will continue to monitor the hillside and weather conditions as before over the course of the weekend.

The A83 trial is expected to run until Monday and will allow teams to identify any issues which need to be addressed before the A83 can open under single file convoy operation on a longer-term basis when weather conditions allow.

READ MORE: Plan to finally re-open the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful for 24 hours a day - but by single file convoy only

But the contractors say rain is forecast to move in late on Sunday night, and the OMR will be kept on standby should it be required as a local diversion route.


Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west representative said: “Yesterday afternoon we took the decision to switch all traffic to the Old Military Road as a safety precaution as the weather conditions worsened in the area.

“As the OMR was already on stand-by, disruption to motorists was minimal and we were able to switch traffic to the local diversion through Glen Croe quickly and safely.

“This morning we carefully inspected the water channels and hillside following the wet conditions yesterday and were content to reopen the A83 as before.

“We’re now looking to continue with the 24-hour operation of the A83 trial as before, however we will keep the Old Military Road on standby ahead of further wet weather forecast from Sunday night.

“We’re continuing to work on a safety-first approach, and we will only operate the A83 for motorists if we are content that it is safe to do so.

“As ever we thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we continue with the ongoing mitigation work at the Rest.”

A group of over 1000 business warned that seven months of disruption to the key Highlands route because of landslips have created new safety risks and have set a 2024 deadline for a permanent solution.

The infamous A83 at Rest and be Thankful has been in and out of action since August, last year after a landslide - and a Rest and be Thankful Campaign has warned the transport secretary of the consequences of eight months of disruption.

Since January, transport chiefs adopted a strategy that was to see the the main road used during the day when weather conditions permit.

The Rest and be Thankful campaign backed by business leaders from across Argyll, Kintyre, Mid Argyll and Cowal and supported by the Road Haulage Association and NFU Scotland want Michael Matheson to scrap the 10-year recovery plan and implement a timescale of two to five years.


The Scottish Government's transport agency's route manager Neil MacFarlane recently told community leaders in the area that 2020 saw 20,000 tonnes fall onto the infamous A83 at the Rest and be Thankful – double what has fallen in nearly two decades.

And he said that Transport Scotland was looking at 12 options to prevent further calamity with "100,000 tonnes on the move on the hill".

Landslip issues on the road were first uncovered 17 years ago when Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland placed the key Highlands artery among the most highly-ranked debris flow hazard sites in Scotland.

Transport Scotland recently announced a preferred alternative to the A83 via five possible alternative routes at Glen Croe which could include a tunnel up to 1.8 miles - but no timescale or costs have been announced for the permanent solution.

Ministers have previously been accused of wasting nearly £80 million on more than a decade of failed solutions to landslides on the road with some locals calling for a public inquiry.