Dangerous Rest landslides
Sir, I have been driving over The Rest for the last 56 years and have a long and accurate memory. I have been a member for many years of the A83 Task Force. I have strenuously argued at these meetings the RABT landslide problem must be solved and money stop being wasted on ‘mitigation measures.’ Money has been wasted on widening, resurfacing and upgrading the Old Military Road (OMR) with white lining, nine speed bumps and pedestrian posts on the lower stretch. The waste was farcical as this option was unavailable. As I predicted at Task Force meetings heavy landslides could and will take out both routes particularly at the top end as the steepest and most dangerous slopes are where the OMR is at its closest to the A83. These landslides prove this irrefutable fact. Transport Scotland (TS) commissioned the Jacobs Report to evaluate the various options and provide and protect the A83 in Glen Croe which is Argyll’s M8. The cheapest option created a diversion route using the OMR. TS justifies this flawed decision and has never accepted any other plan and obstructed discussion about a permanent solution. On the A83 Task Force I have dealt with three transport ministers. Humza Yousaf was the only minister who accepted that mitigation measures were not the answer and instigated the latest scheme digging large pits to hopefully contain landslide spoil. This still doesn’t guarantee safe passage. If they had adopted my suggestion made six years ago, to build a concrete structure on the line of the present diggings, it would have created a 600m long, 4m wide structure blending into the hillside. Gates and permanent traffic lights could be activated whenever there are adverse weather warnings and give peace of mind to travellers. What is the cost of removing debris, in the high nets, in one ton bags using helicopters, demolishing large boulders sometimes using explosives on the unstable hillside and the replacement of expensive security netting? This question is denied as commercially sensitive information. I was fobbed off at a Task Force meeting of my tunnel suggestion as it would require a 1.2km tunnel and would cost £120m and lead to long road closures during construction. The holding pits have been excavated without disruption. A tunnel on this line would avoid digging down an extra 8m using precast concrete roof and side panels and further strengthening as necessary. How can a new solid seawall defence be built at Dawlish, Devon after a huge storm in 2014? Two kilometres of twin mainline rail track was relaid in eight weeks at a cost of £40m, yet there is not a permanent solution to The Rest landslides. I hope our new transport minister brings a fresh and constructive mind to the next Task
Force meeting. Argyll demands a permanently protected A83. Donald Clark, The George Hotel, Inveraray.