Two-day overnight opening trial for A83

The A83 at the Rest and be Thankful is to undergo a trial of 24-hour operation over two days. Photo: BEAR Scotland

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The A83 at the Rest and be Thankful is to undergo a trial of 24-hour operation over the next two days to consider if the route can remain open safely overnight on a long-term basis.

Trunk road operator BEAR Scotland announced that all traffic will remain on the A83 overnight starting on Monday April 5, with its teams carefully monitoring the hillside and weather conditions in the area.

The two-day trial will be used to assist planning for the longer term overnight use of the trunk road, which has been used during the daytime only – and when weather conditions allowed – since January 8 for safety due to concerns over the stability of the slopes above the road. Motorists instead used the adjacent old military road as a local diversion route overnight as a safety precaution.

The old military road will remain on standby throughout the two-day trial, for use should weather conditions deteriorate in the area.

Work has been carried out round the clock on a programme of ‘mitigation’ measures above and below the A83 to help landslip resilience in the area.

This includes a new debris fence across the steep channel formed by landslips last year, strengthening of existing debris fences above the route and enhancing drainage in the area to control and manage any excess water flows.

Eddie Ross of BEAR Scotland explained: ‘The two-day trial of running the A83 24 hours a day will allow us to identify any issues associated with operating the route at all hours for road users, and will enable us to optimise the convoy operation, shift patterns and overnight monitoring practices for the coming period.

‘The old military road local diversion route through the centre of the glen will remain on standby and we’ll have teams ready to implement the route quickly should conditions in the area or on the hillside begin to change.

‘While we’re hopeful we can safely move to 24-hour operation of the A83, we must underline that if there is wet weather forecast or a weather warning – particularly overnight – which we think could impact the hillside then we will look to use the old military road as before. Road user safety remains of paramount importance and we will only operate the A83 if we are content that it is safe to do so.

‘Teams have been working 24/7 on the mitigation measures in the area, including strengthening the debris fences and creating a new debris catch-pit, with such features strengthening landslip resilience and providing greater protection to road users.

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