Jamie McGrigor,Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP,has joined his colleague Argyll and Bute councillor Donald Kelly (South Kintyre) in calling for the Scottish Government to take urgent action to ensure that the A83 is re-opened as soon as possible following a new landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful on Thursday,December 1 2011 and to make sustained investment in the route to ensure that landslides are prevented in future.
Jamie asked an urgent constituency question on the issue at First Minister’s Question Time on the day of the landslide and has also been in contact with the Transport Minister,Keith Brown. The First Minister,Alex Salmond, informed Mr McGrigor that the clearance operation would get underway once the water had subsided and inspections confirmed it was safe to do so.
Mr Salmond also said he anticipated the road being closed for up to 24 hours.
Councillor Donald Kelly said:‘The closure of the A83 is potentially devastating for the economy of Campbeltown and Kintyre as it is the main and most important route into and out of Kintyre. I am deeply concerned about the impact this closure will have on local businesses which are already under real pressure due to the tough economic conditions.
‘This is the third time in four years that the Rest and Be Thankful has been affected by a landslide.
‘It was closed for lengthy periods in 2007 and 2009 and everything possible must be done both to reopen the road as soon as possible and to ensure that these circumstances are not repeated. Jamie McGrigor and I have been urging the Scottish Government to take action on this issue for many years and it is deeply disappointing that this road has once again been closed.’
Jamie McGrigor MSP said: ‘Yet again the A83 which is a lifeline route to Argyll,Dunoon and Campbeltown and the main gateway for tourists to these areas has been blocked at the Rest &Be Thankful.
‘I have been for years urging successive Transport Ministers to accept the key strategic importance of the A83 and to invest in areas that are at risk of landslides to ensure they can be prevented.
‘If we are serious about attracting inward investment to Argyll and Bute and Kintyre and Campbeltown in particular then this state of affairs is simply not acceptable.’