Government under fire after latest A83 landslide

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Political recriminations have followed last week’s landslide on the A83, the latest in a number of such debris flows to close the road in the past decade.

The trunk road re-opened on Saturday February 1, two days after 1,300 tonnes of mud landed on the carriageway at the foot of Glen Croe between the Rest and Ardgartan following heavy rainfall.

The Old Military Road adjacent to the A83 was used as a detour, under convoy, for the duration of the clearance operation.

BEAR Scotland’s Eddie Ross said: ‘We are pleased to have re-opened the A83 following the landslide. We have worked with Forestry and Land Scotland, in some very challenging conditions, to remove the debris and stabilise the slope. We would like to thank the travelling public for their patience whilst the clearance work was undertaken.’

Cowal councillor Alan Reid slammed the Scottish Government for ‘failing to provide a proper solution’ to keep the A83 open and safe at the Rest and be Thankful.

He said: ‘This latest road closure shows urgent action is needed from the government at the Rest and be Thankful, yet only last week at the A83 taskforce meeting, Transport Minister Michael Matheson announced the indefinite postponement of vital work that had been promised.

‘The Jacobs report identified four feasible solutions – putting the road on a viaduct so the debris flows under the road; building a debris flow shelter above the road; upgrading the Old Military Road to trunk road status or building a new road on the opposite side of the glen.’

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron also demanded ‘urgent action’.

Mr Cameron said: ‘This latest landslip is grim news for people and businesses who have been promised action for years by the SNP.

‘The fact is decisive action from the Scottish Government could have sorted this out years ago. But despite all the fine words and promises, very little has been done to secure this vital lifeline route.’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at First Minister’s Questions: ‘Obviously we have done a lot of work over past years to make the reserve road available. In the context of our wider transport strategy, we will continue to look at further improvements that can be made.’

She added: ‘I absolutely understand the inconvenience and frustration travellers will be experiencing.’