Weather warning prompts planned overnight closure of A83

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BEAR Scotland teams are on standby for heavy rain across the north west of Scotland this weekend as around 60mm to 70mm of rain is forecast across some areas of the network.

A Met Office yellow weather warning for heavy rain is in force from 6pm Saturday to midnight on Sunday and teams are on high alert to respond to any incidents.

Strong winds are also expected across the network with gusts of between 40-50mph forecast with landscaping teams on standby to remove any fallen trees.

The decision has been taken to close the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful and redirect traffic to the Old Military Road (OMR) from early evening on Saturday, with teams expecting to re-open the A83 on Sunday afternoon once the rain passes.

This follows the recent landslide and concerns from geotechnical engineers about the impact of such heavy rain on the scarred hillside. This will follow on from relatively wet conditions today (Friday) and into tomorrow. The timing of the use of the OMR will depend on actual weather experienced on site and will be kept to a minimum as much as possible.

BEAR Scotland incident response teams are on standby throughout the north west to respond to any issues on the trunk road network. Landslide patrols are being deployed across routes to provide additional response and monitoring of conditions on the ground.  All response teams have pumps to deal with any excess water with two gully tankers also available to help clear any larger incidents of flooding on the network.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative said: ‘Tomorrow’s yellow warning for heavy rain and high wind is expected to have an impact on the north west trunk road network and our teams are on standby to deal with any issues that may occur from the heavy rain and strong winds.

‘Due to the heavy rain we’ve also taken the difficult decision to close the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful as a safety precaution and redirect road users via the adjacent Old Military Road local diversion route from early evening tomorrow until the rain passes on Sunday afternoon.

‘The advice from our geotechnical experts is that the heavy rain could have an impact on the material in the steep channel above the road. This is the first significant rain event since the landslide in August so we are taking a safety-first approach and will carefully monitor the hillside during the weather event.

‘We’re expecting to re-open the A83 under traffic light control as before on Sunday afternoon once the rain has passed.

‘We have arranged for patrols of the network to be completed at affected areas through the warning period and we also have our incident response teams available to deal with any flooding issues across the north west network, as well as gully tankers and pumps on standby to help ensure trunk roads are kept clear.

“Our 24/7 control room team will also be monitoring conditions across the network to help co-ordinate resource where required and help keep motorists moving.

‘We encourage all road users to plan ahead and check Traffic Scotland for the latest travel advice before setting out.’

Real time journey information is available from Traffic Scotland on www.trafficscotland.org, twitter at @trafficscotland or the new mobile site my.trafficscotland.org.