A KEY Scots road has re-opened this morning after hundreds of tonnes of debris blocked it over the weekend.

The Old Military Road (OMR) acts as a diversion route for the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, which has been shut since last Thursday due to heavy downpours increasing the risk of substantial amounts of debris sliding on to the road from the adjacent hillside.

The A83 and the OMR - which runs through the centre of Glen Croe - remained shut on Sunday after around 250 tonnes of debris reached the single-track diversion road overnight.

That is despite £1m being spent on a 175-metre long, 6.6 metre high barrier built next to the OMR to stop debris from a potential landslip.

BEAR Scotland, which manages the route on behalf of Transport Scotland, said that around 130mm of rain was recorded as falling at the Rest since early Friday morning, with 280mm recorded in total throughout last week.

That rainfall contributed to an already saturated hillside following significant snowmelt brought on by milder temperatures.

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Debris being cleared after latest episode

Debris was identified at multiple locations along the hillside above the A83, with the new bund, a debris-fence and two roadside catch-pits having caught nearly 700 tonnes of material between them, preventing significant material from inundating the trunk road.

Around 250 tonnes of silt and debris still made it on to the OMR, however, as a result of material being washed down the lower hillside channels by the substantial amount of surface water experienced.

It comes as the stretch of road was being brought back into action last month as part of a strategy that was to see the the main road used during the day when weather conditions permit.

The important Highlands route had been barely open for three weeks in the previous five months since a landslip brought about by rain blocked the road in August. Drivers have faced 60-mile diversions when both routes are closed.

Before the A83 re-opening, BEAR Scotland said a debris fence had been completed on the hillside above the A83 to provide further protection to road users.

The Scottish Government's transport agency's route manager Neil MacFarlane recently told community leaders in the area that 2020 saw 20,000 tonnes fall onto the infamous A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful – double what has fallen in nearly two decades.

And he said that Transport Scotland was looking at 12 options to prevent further calamity with "100,000 tonnes on the move on the hill".

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According to Bear Scotland around 250 tonnes of debris reached the OMR overnight

The A83 has been closed for safety due to a series of major landslips experienced throughout 2020.

Since August most traffic was being convoyed by an official vehicle on the OMR but even that has been frequently shut overnight because of fears that it could be hit by landslides - leaving motorists with the 60-mile detours.

Ministers have previously been accused of wasting nearly £80 million on more than a decade of failed solutions to landslides on the road after the latest multiple slips in heavy rainfall.

Some locals have called for a public inquiry into the problems, with many saying a permanent solution must be found.

In September, Transport Scotland published 11 options for a new route to replace the landslip-prone section of the A83 include building up to three bridges or tunnels.

The new solutions being considered include building new fixed link crossings at Loch Long, Gare Loch and the Firth of Clyde, which also include building a new road in the glen behind the current route.

Others include new crossings from near West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, to Bute via Little Cumbrae, and further crossings either over the Firth of Clyde from Rothesay to Toward, or from Rhubodach to Colintraive. Argyll and Bute Council is among those who have registered their concerns about the way the issues with the A83 have been handled.

Two weeks ago, the A83 opening hours were extended to 8.15am to 5pm each day with traffic being convoyed through the area when weather conditions allow. All traffic would then be switched to the single-track Old Military Road which runs through the centre of Glen Croe outwith daylight hours.

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