TRANSPORT Scotland has today revealed the 11 'corridor' options being considered to improve access to Argyll and Bute via the A83.

The trunk road, which re-opened this morning (Wednesday) under traffic light control after further landslides blocked the route on August 4 and September 12, is the focus of ongoing work to improve landslip mitigation measures.

The section of the A83 between Ardgartan and the Rest and Be Thankful car park has a history of hillside instability and there have been renewed calls for a permanent solution in recent months from all political corners, prompting the Scottish Government to commit to a long-term project.

Now, the public are being invited to share their views on the 'Access to Argyll and Bute' project, which details 11 'corridors' which could help improve access through the region.

Among the options are: bridges across the Gare Loch and Loch Long, linking the A814 at Helensburgh to Cowal, joining the A83 at Cairndow; similar fixed link crossings over the Gare Loch and Loch Long, linking the A814 at Helensburgh to Kintyre via Cowal, joining the A83 at Lochgilphead; and new fixed link crossings to the Isle of Bute and Cowal, via North Ayrshire, joining the A83 at Lochgilphead.

Corridors 10 and 11, involving the construction of new bridges at Rhu and Cove, would both be around 50km in length.

On the Helensburgh-Cowal-Cairndow option, Transport Scotland said: "From east to west, the corridor involves a connection from the A814 to Cowal via approximately 0.68km and 2.98km fixed link crossings to the Rosneath Peninsula and the corridor generally follows the B833 whilst on the Rosneath Peninsula.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Corridor option 10 - Helensburgh - Cowal - CairndowCorridor option 10 - Helensburgh - Cowal - Cairndow

"Having crossed Loch Long on the western side of the peninsula, the corridor generally follows the existing A880, C09 and A815 to tie back into the A83 trunk road at Cairndow. The approximate overall length of the full corridor is 50.3km in length.

"The fixed link crossing over Gare Loch and Loch Long will present considerable challenges as both lochs are used by large marine vessels as well MOD submarines which are based at Faslane and Coulport."

Helensburgh Advertiser: Corridor option 11 - Helensburgh - Cowal - LochgilpheadCorridor option 11 - Helensburgh - Cowal - Lochgilphead

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “Following the recent landslips at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful, I understand the frustration and disruption that these bring for local communities and road users.

“While our previous and on-going investment in catch pits has helped keep the road open for an estimated 48 days when it would otherwise have closed, I realise people are looking for a long-term solution to dealing with landslips at the site and we are committed to delivering one.

“Transport Scotland is now taking forward the project development and assessment work required to deliver an alternative infrastructure solution to the existing A83, in parallel with the second Strategic Transport Projects Review.

“We are committed to placing public engagement and meaningful dialogue with directly affected communities and other stakeholders at the heart of the development and delivery of our plans for improving the route. We want to ensure that communities have the opportunity to comment on the proposals for the scheme at every stage in the process.


“We recognise that the timescales for an alternative to the current route are frustrating for the local community but in recognition of the pressures the current situation brings, we remain committed to progressing substantial shorter term investment in the existing A83 in tandem with the work to identify a permanent solution as part of a two phased approach.

“This work underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to continued work with key stakeholders and local communities to ensure that Argyll and Bute remains open for business.”

Comments on the 11 options will have to be submitted online by October 30. Recommendations for a preferred route corridor are expected to be finalised by spring 2021.

To view the documents in full and submit comments, click here.