Vital A83 trunk road re-opens after major repairs

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The A83, an important trunk road artery for Argyll and the isles, has re-opened under traffic light control after a major programme of complex repairs was completed.

The route was inspected by Police Scotland and geotechnical specialists during a final safety check before re-opening at 10.25am on Monday September 7, just over a month since the route was hit by a landslide in which 10,000 tonnes of material came down the hillside.

Temporary traffic lights will remain as engineers continue work to construct further mitigation measures. A temporary debris barrier has been erected to protect road users and a catch-pit is being excavated at the foot of the channel to provide further resilience on the route.

Work is already under way at the next location for another catch-pit immediately adjacent to the recently completed catch-pits built in July 2019.

The A83 at the Rest and be Thankful was closed on the evening of Tuesday August 4 after a major landslip impacted the road at multiple locations when around 100mm of rain fell in the area. The source of the landslip was located around 200m above the A83, which split into two main channels as it spread out in a ‘fan effect’ down the hillside. Around 2,000 tonnes of debris was prevented from reaching the carriageway after it was contained in one of the catch-pits, with around 1,500 tonnes impacting the A83 and a further 2,000 tonnes of material washing onto the old military road.

In total, around 10,000 tonnes of material was thought to have moved on the hillside during the landslip.

Large boulders were also exposed on the hillside during the landslip, with a helicopter brought in to help stabilise the boulders and make them safe.

Clear-up operations started immediately with teams safely enabling the use of the old military road as a diversion route from Saturday August 7.  The route continued to be used as a diversion route when weather conditions allowed while teams progressed with the repair work.

The A83 carriageway, hillside above and embankment below the road were severely impacted by the flow of debris and water during the landslip, requiring extensive and complex repairs. Repairs included constructing a new culvert beneath the road as well as installing a new concrete retaining wall which was anchored to the ground using multiple eight-metre-long rods to stabilise the road.

Work was also carried out to stabilise and secure the hillside above the carriageway. A new road safety barrier and roadside drainage system were also installed, with the carriageway resurfaced to allow vehicles to safety pass.

A team of around 50 personnel worked round the clock to complete the programme of repairs, keep the old military road running safely and manage the traffic on the A83 to keep Argyll open.

Eddie Ross of BEAR Scotland said: ‘We’re pleased to safely re-open one lane of the A83 after a full safety assessment with representatives from Police Scotland this morning.

‘Teams from multiple organisations have worked round the clock in all conditions to complete the programme of complex repairs in the area and keep the Old Military Road and other routes into Argyll open.

‘Engineers will continue to carry out further mitigation work on the hillside above the road as well as at the next catch-pit location to provide further landslip resilience on the A83.

‘As ever, we thank the local community for their patience and support while we worked to address the repairs at the Rest and encourage them to drive safely through the Rest and Be Thankful as teams complete the remaining mitigation work.’