£60k-a-day cost of A83 clo­sure

Traders: Clo­sure of land­slide road costs £60k a day

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS - By Moira Kerr MAIL@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Bak­ers, bar own­ers, and de­liv­ery driv­ers are stand­ing united to de­mand one of Scot­land’s most vi­tal roads is re­opened for busi­ness. The A83 Rest and Be Thank­ful is no­to­ri­ous for land­slides and rock slips forc­ing its clo­sure.

And ev­ery day the Ar­gyll road is closed, busi­nesses say, the lo­cal econ­omy loses at least £50,000.

Last month’s heavy rain caused a land­slip of 3,000 tonnes of mud and boul­ders, block­ing the route and the ad­ja­cent Old Mil­i­tary Road, a sin­gle track road sup­posed to serve as a fail-safe di­ver­sion, for nine days.

That was its 10th clo­sure since 2007.

Now Scot­land’s new Trans­port Min­is­ter Michael Mathe­son is pre­par­ing to face cam­paign­ers at his first A83 Task Force meet­ing, in In­ver­aray on Thurs­day.

Coun­cil­lor Don­ald Kelly, from the Ar­gyll First group, which se­cured the sup­port of 10,000 peo­ple and 400 busi­nesses in an on­line pe­ti­tion to par­lia­ment, said Mr Mathe­son will be the fourth Trans­port Min­is­ter they have met.

Mr Kelly said: “The Ar­gyll and Bute econ­omy is los­ing £50,000 to £60,000 a day ev­ery time the Rest and Be Thank­ful is shut, so the im­pact is mil­lions of pounds since this fi­asco started.”

Haulier Peter Mcker­ral’s firm cov­ers Ar­gyll with a fleet of 60 de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles. De­scrib­ing last month’s clo­sure as a disas­ter, Mr Mcker­ral said: “Ev­ery time the road closes for a num­ber of days it costs us thou­sands.” In Dunoon, Charles Black says his bak­ery busi­ness had to send de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles by ferry to reach cus­tomers around Glas­gow and when the ferry was off at night, driv­ers faced a 60-mile di­ver­sion via Cri­an­larich. Tom Ire­land, who runs the Slanj res­tau­rant and bar in Ar­rochar with his mother Jane Gauld, said they closed for two days dur­ing the lat­est road clo­sure as trade was so quiet.

Trans­port Scot­land said: “We are very aware of the im­por­tance of the A83 to this re­gion and since 2007, £69.8m has been in­vested in main­tain­ing the A83. The cab­i­net sec­re­tary for Trans­port will re­con­vene the A83 Task­force in In­ver­aray, where the on­go­ing chal­lenges at the Rest and Be Thank­ful will be con­sid­ered.”

Peter Mcker­ral says the clo­sure has been a disas­ter for the lo­cal econ­omy

Heavy rain caused a 3,000tonne land­slip, clos­ing thea83

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