Rest and Be Thank­ful shut amid Ar­gyll roads’ chaos

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Mark Davey ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

Heavy rain­fall from Sun­day to Tues­day may have caused a land­slide which blocked the A83 on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day. As the Courier went to press on Wed­nes­day, prepa­ra­tions were be­ing made to open the Old Mil­i­tary Road on the val­ley floor which it­self was hit when 150 tonnes of ma­te­rial breached a bar­rier. This week’s storms have caused ma­jor prob­lems for Ar­gyll road traf­fic with driv­ers fac­ing haz­ardous con­di­tions and long di­ver­sions. Deep sur­face wa­ter and the land­slides, which re­sulted in clo­sure at the A83’s Rest and Be Thank­ful moun­tain pass, have caused anx­i­ety and an­guish among many trav­ellers. The spe­cially-erected bar­ri­ers served their pur­pose and caught most of the de­bris from the hill­sides above the road. A BEAR Scot­land spokesper­son said: ‘Aerial as­sess­ments are be­ing car­ried out on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thank­ful, af­ter ap­prox­i­mately 2,500 tonnes of de­bris was caught in catch-fences. A he­li­copter has been de­ployed to check the con­di­tion of a num­ber of large boul­ders which have be­come ex­posed, and teams have been re­view­ing the con­di­tion of the hill­side. ‘Pro­longed heavy rain pre­vented them from be­ing able to safely ac­cess the slope on Tues­day. ‘Work is also un­der way on the A83 car­riage­way to in­stall tem­po­rary bar­ri­ers to con­tain any ma­te­rial from reach­ing the Old Mil­i­tary Road. Tommy Deans, BEAR Scot­land’s north-west net­work man­ager, said: ‘We thank mo­torists for their con­tin­ued pa­tience as we do all we can to deal with th­ese land­slips at the Rest and Be Thank­ful. ‘We en­cour­age road users to fol­low the di­ver­sion route in place via Dal­mally or use an al­ter­na­tive form of travel, and to check ahead us­ing Traf­fic Scot­land for up-to-date jour­ney in­for­ma­tion.’ A 2014 pe­ti­tion lodged by Dou­glas Phi­land and sup­ported by Ar­gyll First Coun­cil­lor Don­ald Kelly urged the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to en­sure a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion for the A83. Mr Kelly this week said: ‘Our pe­ti­tion call­ing for a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the on­go­ing prob­lems with the A83 re­mains live. ‘This will con­tinue to be the case un­til all the cur­rent is­sues are re­solved.’ There was much anger about the clo­sure. On the Courier’s so­cial me­dia, Daryn Mathieson wrote: ‘How much money have th­ese clowns had? ‘It’s a cash cow and they know it, as they keep get­ting paid to not fix it.’ Western Fer­ries, at Dunoon, has laid on ex­tra boats to help trav­ellers who ac­cess Scot­land’s cen­tral belt by ei­ther the Tar­bert to Por­tavadie ferry and cross­ing the Cowal penin­sula or drive via Cairn­dow.

Teams assess­ing one of the de­bris fences from A83 car­riage­way; and right, teams re­move 150 tonnes of ma­te­rial from Old Mil­i­tary Road.

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