A PERMANENT fix to decades of landslide problems on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful must be in place by 2026 at the latest.

That’s the plea issued by Argyll and Bute Council’s leader – after it was revealed that 100,000 tons of debris is waiting to fall on to the trunk road from the nearby hillside.

Councillor Robin Currie joined forces with Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell to demand that a new route to replace the existing road must be put in place within the lifetime of the next Scottish Parliament.

They also want mitigation measures at the site to be continued, and increased if necessary, and for the A83 Taskforce to meet more frequently.

READ MORE: A83 Rest and Be Thankful diversion road reopens after landslips

Councillor Currie said: “With this joint approach we are calling for three key actions and clear timescales to be put in place which will address this situation once and for all.”

Transport Scotland revealed that the A83 was its top Argyll and Bute priority when its second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) was published last month.

And the government body’s route manager, Neil MacFarlane, underlined the seriousness of the situation when he spelled out the scale of the task facing trunk road maintenance teams earlier this month.

Mr MacFarlane told members of the Helensburgh and Lomond community planning group: “I don’t know if this is common knowledge, but it can be shared. In the last 19 years or so, there have been about 10,000 tons of material moved off the hill on to the road.

READ MORE: '100,000 tons of debris' waiting to fall on to A83

“Last year alone, there was 20,000 tons – so that is double everything that’s happened in the previous 19 years, in one year.

“At the moment, there is 100,000 tons on the move on the hill. We are looking at 12 options in a short timescale.

“We want this to be done by March, because that is the end of the financial year.

“The other milestone we have set ourselves is next winter. What can we do before then to build resilience?

“It is impossible to say when the road will be open again 24/7, or two-way, as we do not know what is happening on the hillside.

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“What I can say with certainty is that BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland will be there for years.”

Councillor Iain Shonny Paterson asked: “Those are quite significant changes in terms of figures of what is likely to come down. Are the mitigation measures going to be adequate to deal with that volume?”

Mr MacFarlane replied: “Not at the moment, but it is very unlikely that 100,000 tons will come down in one go.

“It’s something we have to plan for, and will be looked at moving forward.”

Meanwhile, longer daylight hours mean the main A83 east of the Rest is now open from 8am until 5.15pm each day. Traffic is continuing to be directed to the Old Military Road diversion route further down Glen Croe outwith those hours.

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