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A route adjacent to the existing A83 has been revealed as Argyll and Bute Council’s preferred option to solve problems at the Rest and Be Thankful.
The authority has chosen option one – Glen Croe (existing A83) – as its preferred option of 11 drawn-up by Transport Scotland.
Councillors now gather for a full meeting on Thursday, October 22, and will be recommended to support the council’s formal response to the consultation which closes on Friday October 30.
Members are also recommended to agree that a permanent solution should be completed during the 2021-26 term of the Scottish Parliament.
Argyll and Bute Council are one of many stakeholders to put their choices forward with a decision not due on the route until March next year.
Continued major landslips this year at the landmark stretch of the A83 this year have led to closures, sometimes with the Old Military Road being unavailable and massive diversions for motorists.
In its response to option one, the council said the authority was ‘ambitious’ for the area.
But it added: ‘That ambition must be tempered with a degree of realism – Argyll and Bute needs a solution to be delivered as soon as possible and the delivery timeline is a key issue in considering all the options.
‘That is why the council supports option one as offering realistic solutions which will increase resilience on the A83 and provide the uninterrupted year-round access that Argyll and Bute needs and deserves.
‘This route corridor appears, on the face of it, to offer the most deliverable set of solutions within an option, although these remain engineering projects of considerable significance and which will be complex to progress.’
However, the authority has also said that a further option to link Arden with Lochgilphead, making use of current roads and also building two crossings over water ‘may provide merit for longer term consideration’.
Six of the other 10 options will not be supported by the council, while options two to five are also not ruled out if they can be delivered sustainably.
Of those, the council rates option five as its preference. The route would make use of existing roads while new crossings would be built over Loch Long between Whistlefield and Barnacabber, and Loch Fyne between Otter Ferry and Port Ann.
Option two goes through Glen Kinglas, option three through Glen Fyne, and option four starts the same as option five from Arden, but moves north from Barnacabber to Cairndow.
On those four options, the council said: ‘These ambitious proposals have significant transformative potential for Argyll and Bute, increasing resilience as well as enhancing connectivity to, from and for all of Argyll and Bute, including opening up more direct connections to the central belt for communities like Mid Argyll and Kintyre.
‘If any of these options can be delivered or substantially progressed within an acceptable timeframe, then the council will support them.’
Kirsty Flanagan, executive director, said in a covering report that only the Scottish Government could provide a solution and that aspects of ‘engineering design, construction and affordability’ are a matter for them.
‘Our focus should be identifying the best strategic fit in terms of deliverability, connectivity and the potential for economic and population growth for Argyll and Bute from the options presented.’
Donald Cameron, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said he has received an assurance from the First Minister that the timetable would be met.
He urged local residents and business owners to look at the options available and participate.
Option one as detailed in the consultation: