Scotland's most notorious road is to shut just before Christmas over new landslip safety fears.

Transport Scotland's maintenance contractor BEAR Scotland says that weather forecast for Friday and Saturday indicate persistent rainfall at the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful with corresponding increase in hillside saturation levels.

When the crucial Highland's artery is shut, motorists are sent onto a single track route, the Old Military Road (OMR), which runs through the centre of Glen Croe and acts as a diversion using a convoy system.

The diversion will start at 6pm on Friday and is expected to last until Christmas Eve when there will be a further inspection and review of the hillside.

A Bear Scotland spokesman said: "Our team continues to have a presence on site and are monitoring conditions loosely. A further update will be issued if there is any change to the above traffic management arrangement."

Campaigners have said they have been warned by Transport Scotland officials that there was 100,000 tonnes of unstable material on the hillside above the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful just before the latest landslides which they say shows more needed to be done to ensure the safety of those using the road.

READ MORE: A83 at the Rest and be Thankful: The 18 year wait for a solution

The A83 at the Rest has been operating under a traffic lights system after a series of landslips over a number of years that have put the important route out of action for weeks at a time. The lights system ended more recently.

The Herald: The Old Military Road

When there are further concerns road managers set up a convoy system on the A83 stretch.

Only when there are the most serious concerns do road managers divert to the OMR, which was originally built by General George Wade in response to the Jacobite uprisings in the 18th Century.

It is the first major stoppage since it was shut down after some 12,000 tonnes of debris fell on it in early October.

A major clear-up operation was needed after seven landslides on the road after heavy rainfall.

Of the seven landslips that hit the A83 on Saturday, one hit the Rest.

The rest occurred between two and four miles north and west of where a planned £470m debris shelter is due to be built on the notorious Rest stretch of road as a key long-term measure to protect the road.

A mother and daughter who had a lucky escape on the road say they were hit by two landslides, the last of which was close to the A83 junction with the A815 - around four miles from the end of the proposed landslip shelter.

Kiera Smith, 19, and mum Fiona, 44 from Campbeltown were travelling on the road on Saturday morning when their Vauxhall Zafira was hit.

BEAR Scotland had shut the road in advance fearing further landslides.

But the measure did not stop road users from having their journeys curtailed on the route, with motorists having to go on long detours as landslides shifted away from where the shelter is due to be built.

Fears over the road at the Rest hit fresh heights on August 4, 2020, when some 6,000 tonnes of debris cascaded onto the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful.

The Herald: Flashback to a past landslip

By the end of August, the road had been closed for the same length of time as over the five years between January 2007 and October, 2012 which led to an investigation into how to handle the hillside stability.

In 2020 alone it was shut for over 200 days.

A campaign backed by 1500 businesses has been pushing for a permanent fix for the landslip issues to be delivered by 2024.

But they are unlikely to get their wishes.

There has been anger over ministers "wasting" up to £130m over more than a decade on failed solutions to the landslide issue.

Concerns have been raised about the millions spent on temporary solutions to the landslip problem which were first highlighted in the Scottish Road Network Landslides Study part authored by the then Scottish Executive - 18 years ago.

The A83 is an almost 100-mile trunk road connecting the Mull of Kintyre and southern Argyll to the shores of Loch Lomond.

About 1.3 million vehicles travel the route every year and it acts as an important transport link for mainland Argyll as well as the Inner Hebrides.