Five options under consideration for Rest and Be Thankful design work

SCOTLAND’S transport minister Jenny Gilruth has met the A83 Task Force to discuss the work to identify a solution to the challenges at the Rest and Be Thankful.

Five consultants have now been invited to tender for the next stage of the work to design a long-term solution with five options currently under consideration for the preferred route at Glen Croe. They are: Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited / Sweco UK Limited; Ove Arup & Fairhurst;  Atkins Limited / WSP UK Limited;  Stantec UK Ltd / RPS Consulting Services Limited; and Jacobs / Aecom.

Transport Scotland revealed that, in recognition of the disruptive closures at the Rest and Be Thankful, plans are being progressed for a ‘medium term resilient route’ through Glen Croe, with finalised proposals expected this autumn.

To help inform the design work, discussions have been held with the Norwegian Government to learn lessons from their experience of constructing tunnels. Norway’s roads network is said to contain many tunnels due to the landscape of the country, which is similar to that found at the Rest and Be Thankful.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said, “Improving the resilience of the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful remains a key transport priority for the Scottish Government. So I am keen to meet the A83 Task Force to listen to and understand more about their views on our plans. I want to assure local residents, business and communities that we are aware of the urgent need to make progress on this – that is why we are pursuing measures to maintain connectivity on a short, medium and long term basis in parallel.

“Identifying the preferred route corridor for a resilient long term solution last year was a major step forward for this vital work. With the shortlisting of five design consultants, we hope to appoint the best candidate to take forward that work as soon as due process allows.  But other work will continue in the meantime.

“We intend to finalise proposals for the medium term solution for the resilient route through Glen Croe by the Autumn. Ground investigations are now underway to help inform the design work for both the medium and long term options.

“As two of the five options for the long term solution include a tunnel, we have held discussions with the Norwegian Government to learn from their experiences in assessing and building tunnels. As the project progresses, we will continue to learn from Norway’s experience, and that of other relevant communities and countries as we work towards finding the right solution to meet the need to create a truly resilient and safe route for the A83.”