‘Sentries and spotters’ keeping check on hillside as OMR reopens

Landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful hill pass have hit tourism hard.
The Rest and be Thankful and Old Military Road

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The Old Military Road at the Rest and Be Thankful will remain open until 3.30pm after a safety inspection of the hillside above and below the A83 today (November 27).

Spotters and sentries have been stationed at key points on the hill and at the roadside, so that conditions can be continuously monitored and communicated should any changes be observed, BEAR Scotland said.

The single-track route running parallel to the closed A83 through Glen Croe, will close from 3.30pm as a safety precaution throughout the hours of darkness.

Safety inspections will then take place on Saturday and Sunday morning with the hope of reopening between 9.30am-3.30pm each day, depending on the forecast.

Geotechnical teams carried out a ‘thorough assessment’ following the movement of debris movements on the hillside earlier this week.

The debris has now drained slightly following a period of dry weather, and has enabled limited use of the OMR with enhanced controls in place, it said.

Further mitigation work on the hillside is being programmed.

In addition, alternative options that may improve the resilience of road operation through Glen Croe are also being considered at this time, said BEAR Scotland.

These include ‘enhanced mitigation’ for the OMR and the viability of using the Glen Croe forest track is ‘under review’.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north west representative said: ‘We’ve carried out a thorough safety inspection of the hillside this morning following several days of dry weather, which has allowed us to safely reopen the OMR this morning from around 9.30am.

‘The route will open during the day with traffic being convoyed through the glen during daylight hours, closing again from 3.30pm this afternoon as a safety precaution.

‘We’re constantly monitoring the hillside and have additional teams observing the slope to note any changes to ensure safety continues to be put first.

‘We are currently dealing with a situation which is unprecedented over recent years.

‘Whilst our mitigation measures have been successful to an extent, the scale of landslides and, most recently, the movements on the hillside are such that the resilience of the Old Military Road is now a major challenge and has led to a series of closures.

Mr Ross added: ‘To tackle this, as well as the enhanced hillside monitoring, we have been asked by Transport Scotland to look at how the resilience of a local diversion through Glen Croe can be improved including investigating the forestry track on the opposite side of the valley and, in the short terms, measures adjacent to the OMR.

‘As ever we thank all road users and the local community for their continued patience while we do everything we can to address the ongoing situation at the rest.’

You can check for real-time journey information at www.trafficscotland.org or the new mobile site my.trafficscotland.org

CAPTION: The Rest and be Thankful and Old Military Road.