£470m road shelter planned to shield A83 Rest and Be Thankful from future landslides
Landslides which regularly cause travel misery for motorists using one of Scotland’s major rural routes could be a thing of the past after engineers proposed building a road shelter as part of a £470 million scheme.
A debris flow shelter, which covers the road to protect it from mudslides, avalanches and rockfalls, has been earmarked as the preferred option for a long-term solution for the A83 Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll.
The route has been plagued with landslides, with drivers often having to face a lengthy diversion when the road is blocked.
The proposed tunnel-like shelter will be almost a mile long, with a catch pit and a protection wall to shield the road and drivers from debris falling from above.
Transport Scotland said it estimates the project, which closely follows the mile-and-a-half route from Croe Water to the Rest and Be Thankful car park, will cost taxpayers between £405 million and £470 million.
Similar shelters have been used successfully across Europe for many years, and the decision to choose it as the preferred option follows design work on five options through the Glen Croe valley.
Transport Scotland said an online exhibition of the plans has gone live, and in-person events will be held for four days from June 12 in Arrochar and then Lochgilphead.
Transport minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government has been “working tirelessly to find a long-term solution” for the route, and that selecting the preferred option is a “very important milestone” in the work.
He added: “We want to hear from the public on our proposals, and both the online exhibition and public exhibitions in two weeks are your opportunity to tell us what you think.
“Work will now be taken forward at pace to further develop our proposals, including the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option along with the preparation of an environmental impact assessment, draft road orders and draft compulsory purchase orders.”
While the road shelter is part of its long-term solution, Transport Scotland said it is looking “to increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route along the existing Old Military Road, having identified the preferred route solution for it late last year”.
Measures taken on that route are hoped to reduce closures due to flooding.
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