Urgent calls have been made for the Scottish Government to intervene and help reopen a "vital" west coast main road before Christmas. 

The A816, which connects Lochgilphead and Oban, is often used as an alternative route in the event of closures on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, which has been closed for over a month following a series of landslides.

Six thousand tonnes of debris including 'bus-sized' rocks collapsed onto the A816 at Ardfern following heavy rainfall on Saturday, October 7. 

Read more: A816: 'Bus-sized rocks' warning as 6000 tonne landslide blocks road

A major effort is underway to clear the road, which spans 36.4 miles, with more than 3,000 tonnes reported to be removed already. 

However, concerns have been raised by regular users of the road over the scale of the task, including Salmon Scotland which said the closure has caused "significant disruption" to an industry which is worth £150 million to the local economy.

The organisation has now urged the Scottish Government to intervene and help Argyll and Bute Council reopen the road "as quickly as possible".

The Herald: The extent of the landslide on the A816 at ArdfernThe extent of the landslide on the A816 at Ardfern (Image: Argyll and Bute council)

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “The A816 between Lochgilphead and Oban is a vital arterial route for salmon farmers and local supply chain businesses operating on the west coast of Scotland.

“The closure of this main road is causing significant disruption and delay for local businesses including the Scottish salmon sector, which is worth £150 million a year to the local economy in Argyll and Bute.

“In the run-up to Christmas, when demand for Scottish salmon peaks, it’s absolutely essential that this road is back up and running as quickly as possible.

"I urge the Scottish Government to assist Argyll and Bute Council in every possible way to re-open the road and get transport moving again.”

The road is hoped to be reopened by mid to late November, Argyll and Bute council said. 

Read more: A83 at Rest and be Thankful: Road fears as depth of chaos laid bare

A spokesperson for the council said: “We share our communities’ wish to have the road re-opened as quickly as possible and are working round the clock to take the action needed to make the route safe for use.

“We are making progress. Our initial focus had to be on stabilising and safely bringing down precarious boulders on the hillside, some of which weighed up to 70 tonnes. 

“This work is ongoing and we have already as of today (Wednesday) removed approximately 3,000 tonnes of material from the road. We continue to do everything we can, as fast as we safely can, and at this stage, we are hopeful the road can reopen towards the end of November.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.