Council leader not that Thankful for new A83 works

Chris Ames

A local council leader has again called for a ‘permanent solution’ to landslips at Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 after the Scottish Government announced new mitigation measures.

The road is frequently closed by landslips, most recently at the end of January (pictured).

Transport Scotland said it will spend £1.9m to construct a further catch pit at phase one of the hillside.

It pointed out that £13.3m has already been invested in catch pits and other measures along the road, which have helped keep it open for at least 48 days when it would otherwise have been closed.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: ‘The A83 plays a crucial role for communities and businesses in Argyll. That’s why we’ve invested £79.2m in its maintenance since 2007, including £13.3m in landslip mitigation measures and improvements to the Old Military Road diversion route.

‘We have already seen the effectiveness of the catch pit programme and want to build on the existing measures, so work will begin on an additional catch pit at phase one of the hillside.’

He added: ‘In the longer term, Argyll & Bute is being prioritised in the second Strategic Transport Projects Review, meaning recommendations for the region can be among the first reported. It will consider the transport needs and priorities for the whole area.

‘This work underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to continued work with key stakeholders to ensure that Argyll & Bute remains open for business.’

Responding to the announcement, Aileen Morton, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘The issues with the Rest and Be Thankful have been recognised for over a decade now, a decade in which a sticking plaster approach has been taken by the Scottish Government. This is a vital route for Argyll and Bute, for Scotland, and it’s time for a more substantial commitment to be made.'

She added: ‘The process the Scottish Government is currently going through to review potential transport projects across the country is a long, drawn out one. This was first suggested as a way forward for the Rest and Be Thankful in October 2018. We have no more information now than we did then and the final STPR report isn’t due to be available until spring 2021.

‘Considering the mitigation measures failed yet again Argyll and Bute Council is still asking for a permanent solution to be identified, funded and delivered as a matter of urgency – it is likely to require a substantial sum of money to do this but that must be better than spending more money on works that don’t ultimately solve the problem.’

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