A LOCAL diversion route could re-open on Saturday morning as clean-up work continues following the latest landslip which has closed parts of the A83.

A large landslide on Tuesday evening saw thousands of tonnes of debris block the trunk road near the Rest and Be Thankful, as well as the usual diversion route along the Old Military Road (OMR).

However, BEAR Scotland teams have been working to clear around 2,000 tonnes of material from the OMR and it is hoped that the road will be able to re-open from Saturday mid-morning.

A protective bund is being constructed along the edge of the OMR and a channel is also being excavated parallel to the road to help provide additional protection.

Heavy rain is forecast from mid-afternoon and the additional measures will help provide extra mitigation in the event of any debris being washed down to the level of the road.

READ MORE: Diversion routes remain in place as Rest and Be Thankful landslip clear-up continues

BEAR Scotland say the OMR will only re-open following a full rigorous safety assessment by Police Scotland and geotechnical specialists.

Currently the A83 remains closed in both directions between the Rest and Arrochar and it is expected to be shut for a "considerable time", with a near-60 mile diversion route in place eastbound and westbound.

The OMR also remains closed on Friday with the diversion route in place via the A83, A82, A85 and A819. Western Ferries have also increased their sailings on their Gourock to Dunoon route to accommodate motorists.

On Thursday a helicopter was drafted in to help manage large boulders which became exposed on the hillside above the A83.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West representative, said: “Since the large boulders were made safe yesterday late afternoon, we’ve been progressing with clearing the OMR and safe-guarding it with a view for a potential re-opening tomorrow mid-morning. We will only re-open the road if we are absolutely satisfied that it is safe to do so.

READ MORE: Rest and Be Thankful landslip: 'The people of Argyll and Bute deserve better'

“As an added precaution we’re in the process of constructing additional protection measures next to the roadside on the OMR including a protective bund and channel along the edge of the road which will help redirect any excess material or water from impacting the carriageway.

“We will be closely monitoring the hillside and OMR as heavy rain is forecast this afternoon.

“Work is continuing simultaneously on the A83 with good progress being made on the clearance and stabilisation work allowing us to now progress the design of the full repair solution.

“In the meantime Argyll remains open for business with Western Ferries providing additional sailings to help accommodate motorists and our teams are assisting road users using the diversion route.

“Safety remains our top priority and we’re doing everything we can to re-open the OMR as quickly and as safely as we can and then to do likewise with the A83.”

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