Tunnel to be considered for landslip-hit A83 as temporary route announced

TRANSPORT Scotland has announced the long term solution to the ongoing problems at the Rest and be Thankful (A83).

Last month (February), Argyll and Bute Council demanded ‘urgent’ action on the landslip-hit route and said that a replacement road must be constructed by 2026 at the latest.

Following a preliminary assessment of 11 route corridor options for improving access to Argyll and Bute and a public consultation which received over 650 responses, Transport Scotland have opted for the Glen Croe corridor option.

The country’s transport agency said that the preferred route corridor is more cost effective and quicker to deliver, as well as having ‘significantly’ less environmental constraints when compared to the other options.

Transport Scotland also announced that work on route options within the preferred long-term corridor has been accelerated. It has today (March 18) launched an interactive story map detailing the options – which range from traditional roads to tunnels.

The national agency added that it will be commencing  the process of procuring long term consultancy services for the design work of the options next month and taking forward further survey and assessment work in parallel with this procurement subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP said, “Following the disruption caused by landslips at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful, I understand the frustration and disruption that these bring for local communities and road users.

“We are progressing substantial short term investment in the existing A83 including installing a debris cage and new culvert, construction of an additional catchpit, debris fencing and flood mitigation measures at the River Croe crossing.

“I can also announce today that I have asked Transport Scotland to progress work to look at a medium term resilient route through Glen Croe including consideration of the Forestry Track, the Old Military Road and other options on land already owned by Scottish Ministers. Depending on the statutory consents required, this work will seek to develop finalised proposals within 18 months.

“Along with this work on the existing A83, we are working in parallel to identify a permanent solution to the road at the Rest and Be Thankful. Following the conclusion of the preliminary assessment of the corridor options under consideration the preferred corridor has been identified as the Glen Croe corridor, option 1.

“Identifying the preferred route corridor is a major step forward for this vital work and we are now pushing forward to look at five alternative options within that online corridor and starting the process shortly to appoint design consultants for this work. Following substantial public feedback our future assessment work will place particular emphasis on the timescale to deliver these options.

“As I made clear at the rural economy and connectivity committee last week, I have asked Transport Scotland to accelerate the preparation and delivery of the scheme where possible given the importance of the route to local communities and road users.

“However, we are required to follow the correct statutory process to ensure a fair and transparent assessment of options and impacts on local communities and road users.

“From today the new Story Map portal will provide regular updates on the design work as we look at alternative options within the preferred route corridor. We are also encouraging those with an interest to provide feedback on the preferred route corridor and possible route options between now and the end of May.

“All of this work underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to continued work with key stakeholders and local communities to ensure that Argyll & Bute remains open for business.”