A NEW barrier is to be built along a section of a key road through Argyll to provide temporary relief to drivers travelling on the landslip-plagued Rest and Be Thankful.

The 175m long, 6m high "bund" will be constructed in time for Christmas and positioned next to the Old Military Road (OMR), which acts as a diversion route to the A83 at the Rest.

It is hoped that the embankment will help increase protection on the OMR while the A83 Rest and Be Thankful - which has only been open for around three weeks in the last four months - is shut.

The announcement was made today by the Cabinet Secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson, at a meeting with stakeholders in the region.

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The bund will be placed at the foot of the vulnerable channel formed by landslips in August and September. The barrier will be formed using a modular system favoured by the military and will be largely backfilled with material from previous landslides.

Mr Matheson said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity today to discuss with local stakeholders and businesses our continuing work in delivering landslide mitigation measures at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful and the Old Military Road local diversion.

"At this meeting, I announced that I have instructed our contractors to commence construction of a new 175 metre debris bund above the Old Military Road, with the aim of completing works before Christmas, weather permitting. This will provide greater resilience to the local diversion, helping to ensure continuity of access to the region.”

A design team is also continuing to assess the viability of the forestry track as an alternative route through Glen Croe, with further information expected to be available next week.

The Old Military Road remains in use as a local diversion route for road users through Glen Croe with teams closely reviewing the weather forecast and conditions on the hillside on a daily basis.

READ MORE: Five years before work starts on new A83 route as council expresses 'deep concern'

Last week Argyll and Bute Council expressed "deep concern" to Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the ongoing situation regarding the A83 near the Rest and its adjacent diversionary route. It was also revealed that it could take at least five years before work gets under way on building a new route to replace the current one, following Transport Scotland's publication of 11 alternative options.

Eddie Ross, from BEAR Scotland, the firm which maintains the trunk route, said: “The Old Military Road is operating well as a local diversion and after thorough assessments of the hillside we’re keeping the route operational 24 hours a day as long as weather conditions allow.

“Installation of this new bund will give us the opportunity to use the local diversion route with greater confidence once it is complete later this month.

“As ever we’re continuing to put road user safety first. We thank the local community and all road users for their patience and assure them we’re doing everything we can to address the ongoing situation at the Rest.”

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