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Rest and Be Thankful: 10-year wait to solve Argyll landslide problem “inexcusable”

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The A83, Old Military Road, at Rest and Be Thankful

A 10-year wait to find a solution to the landslide problems at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll would be “inexcusable”, an MSP has said.

Donald Cameron was commenting on reports that it may take 10 years to deliver a permanent solution to the repeated closures of the A83 Tarbet to Campbeltown road.

During periods of heavy rain when landslides are threatened, a convoy system is put in place via the Old Military Road diversion route.

The A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll has been open for barely three weeks in nearly five months since a landslip blocked the road in early August.

Work is being carried out on a barrier to protect the single-track Old Military Road.

But even that has been frequently shut overnight because of fears it could be hit by landslides – leaving motorists with 60-mile detours.

During a stakeholders meeting officials said work was not expected to start on a new route for at least another five years.  And then it could take another five years for the alternative to be built.

Highlands and Islands MSP Mr Cameron said: “A fit-for-purpose road is essential if we are to attract investment and new jobs for people in Argyll and Bute, and that means a permanent solution to the repeated closures of the A83.

“The failure of the SNP Government to achieve that after 14 years in office is an indictment of their neglect of our area.

“To wait until 2030 for a solution is quite simply inexcusable.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Design work is underway to identify an alternative to the current A83 route and find a long-term solution to the challenges created by the Rest and Be Thankful section of the road.

“This work is expected to identify a preferred corridor by spring 2021. Following this, designs will be progressed, and as with other projects to improve the trunk road network, there will be a need to complete the necessary environmental assessments and statutory process to allow land to be acquired and the project constructed.

“We recognise that the timescales for developing an alternative to the current route and finding a long-term solution to the challenges created by the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83 are frustrating for the local community and we will look to compress the programme where possible.”

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