Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Andrew Galloway and Laura Pollock

Argyll and Bute seek timescale guidance for Rest and Be Thankful construction

RESIDENTS of Argyll and Bute continue to harbour concerns about the Rest and Be Thankful despite the announcement of a preferred solution, the council’s leader has claimed.

On Thursday 29, Kintyre and the Islands LibDem Councillor Robin Currie moved a motion at a full council meeting stating he would write to the new transport minister, Fiona Hyslop, for an update.

The leader also said he would seek reassurance from the minister on a number of aspects of the project, including timescales and measures to mitigate against delay.

A debris shelter has been confirmed as the preferred long-term solution, with the medium-term solution being use of the Old Military Road.

The A83, known as the Rest and Be Thankful, forms a vital transport link for Argyll communities and businesses, with around 1.3 million vehicles passing through it every year.

But due to its vulnerability to landslides from the hillside above, the road has been subject to protracted roadworks, with travel times regularly being hit by long delays.

Councillor Currie said: “The impact on all aspects of life in Argyll and Bute of any amount of disruption is such that any update must be welcomed.

“The announcement earlier this month confirmed that the proposed long term solution is a debris shelter. A step forward like this is of course positive.

“However, it is absolutely vital to maintain momentum and ensure there is absolutely no question of any element of unnecessary delay, given the very serious disruption that Argyll and Bute has had to cope with for so long.

“Our communities therefore have many questions and concerns, and despite the signs of progress, they are asking why it took so long for this to be identified.

“They are asking about timescales, they are questioning what will happen while the work is ongoing, they are deeply concerned about the route in and out of Argyll and Bute being confined to a single lane.”

His motion, which also included a request for an urgent meeting of the A83 taskforce group, was unanimously backed by the council.

Oban South and the Isles Councillor Jim Lynch, leader of the council’s SNP opposition group, added: “This is a huge step forward, and the momentum is with us now. It is a good opportunity to push forward and get positive results.”

The decision to approve it as the preferred option of the Scottish Government comes after the success of similar shelters across Europe and design work on five options which go through Glen Croe valley.

Following the publication of a report on the A83 project ahead of the June 29 meeting, a Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We have been working tirelessly to find a long-term solution to the landslip risks at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful.

“Following a thorough assessment, the preferred debris flow shelter route option performed most favourably across a broad range of criteria – it also has the greatest potential to be delivered quickly, and presents the best opportunity to encourage sustainable travel.

“At the same time, we are looking to increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route along the existing Old Military Road, with the first phase of the proposed improvements, comprising the realignment of the southern end of the road, expected to begin later this year.

“These developments underline our determination to work with key stakeholders and local communities to ensure Argyll and Bute remains open for business, and recognise clear communications is at the heart of this approach.

“The Scottish Government also remains committed to upgrading the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan and will ensure that the timing of the construction works are planned to minimise disruption to road users across both projects.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.