Transport Secretary pledges to look at permanent fix for A83 landslip closures


The Transport Secretary has pledged to ensure a permanent solution for the landslide-hit Rest And Be Thankful road will be commissioned, it one can be found.

Despite major landslide mitigation and diversion works, the A83 road in Argyll was closed for nine days in the past fortnight due to thousands of tonnes of debris from several slips.

Motorists had initially faced a 60-mile detour, as the alternative route was affected by fallen boulders.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie raised the issue at Holyrood during Topical Questions and called on Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to commission a full options appraisal on possible solutions.

She also asked him to meet with representatives from Argyll and Bute Council which has requested the Scottish Government formally commit to identifying and funding a permanent solution to keep the road open.

Conservative MSP Maurice Corry warned had the recent landslides occurred later in the day there “could well have been fatalities”.

He said: “Does the Cabinet Secretary agree that no other trunk road such as the M8, M74 and the M9 would be allowed to function at this level of disruption?”

Mr Matheson said: “I recognise the very significant inconvenience and frustration felt by those in Argyll and Bute who were affected by the closure of the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, that is to be regretted.

“There has been a significant lot of work that has been undertaken to try and implement the mitigation measures.

“They have had an impact on the site as it stands at the present moment.

“Where the route would have closed in the past couple of years the nets have actually prevented that from occurring, but clearly given the events that occurred in the past couple of weeks we need to revisit this issue.”

He said work is ongoing to install catch pits and he has asked if further planned mitigation works, including tree planting, can be accelerated.

He added: “I’m open to looking at where there are further measures that need to be taken forward in order to address this issue on a permanent basis.

“If there are identified then I’ll give it every effort I can to make sure that they are realised as we move forward.”

Around 3,000 tonnes of rubble was cleared from the catch fences and carriageway to enable traffic to return to the trunk road last Thursday, having been closed since October 9.


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