Further rockfall risk at Rest and Be Thankful pass

The Rest and Be Thankful diversionary route has periodically fallen victim to landslides. Picture: Robert Perry
The Rest and Be Thankful diversionary route has periodically fallen victim to landslides. Picture: Robert Perry
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A NEW £2.5 million road built to divert traffic after landslides on the A83 has been shut for the fourth night in a row because of the risk of further rockfalls at the Rest and Be Thankful pass in Argyll.

Engineers from road maintenance firm BEAR Scotland had hoped to keep the Old Military Road parallel to the A83 open round the clock for the first time since last Wednesday’s landslide, which closed the main road between Glasgow and Kintyre.

However, despite a helicopter lifting equipment to the steep hillside to stabilise boulders of up to 50 tonnes, it was decided to shut the diversion road between 6:30pm and 7am because of the threat of more debris falling.

Drivers will be forced to take a 60-mile detour via Tyndrum.

The Old Military Road has only been open for diverted traffic during daylight.

BEAR Scotland said earlier that if “significant progress” was made today, the diversion route might stay open overnight.

But it later announced: “Whilst good progress has been made during today’s operations, with activity continuing on site, BEAR Scotland advise that the A83 Old Military Road local diversion route will close at 18:30 this evening, re-opening at 07:00 tomorrow.

“Tomorrow’s weather forecast currently looks favourable, and with an early start the aim is to complete the remaining works and open the A83 to traffic as soon as possible.”

Bad weather has previously hampered work, with the helicopter grounded by poor visibility and a power line falling onto the A83 yesterday.

The latest landslides is the fifth in the area in as many months.

A BEAR Scotland spokeswoman said: “With favourable weather conditions this morning, the helicopter was able to take to the air shortly after 7am, lifting equipment up onto the hillside where specialist contractor Georope and BEAR Scotland geotechnical engineers are continuing to assess requirements.

“Working under difficult conditions, Georope’s experienced team of eight engineers will prioritise each boulder being treated as quickly as possible using a combination of rolling, pinning, propping and splitting.

The firm said rock netting had been due to be installed at the boulders site within weeks and the work would now start this week.