TRANSPORT chiefs have pledged to work to ensure Argyll and Bute “remains open for business” as plans are progressed for a solution at the Rest and Be Thankful.

The stretch of the A83 is the subject of a report to go before the area’s council, with one of the authority’s executive directors claiming work could have a “significant impact” on the Argyll and Bute economy.

The Scottish Government announced earlier this month that it intends to spend £470 million on a 'debris shelter' over the stretch of the A83 through Glen Croe to bring an end to decades of road closures in the area caused by landslides after heavy rain.

In a report to go before councillors this week, Kirsty Flanagan also warned that the A83 spending proposals was likely to have a major impact on plans to upgrade theA82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan.

But the government's transport agency, Transport Scotland, says it remains committed to the A82 upgrade.

Improvements to the Old Military Road - the diversionary route used during closures of the A83 at Glen Croe - were announced in December.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We have been working tirelessly to find a long-term solution to the landslip risks at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful.

"Following a thorough assessment, the preferred debris flow shelter route option performed most favourably across a broad range of criteria – it also has the greatest potential to be delivered quickly, and presents the best opportunity to encourage sustainable travel.

“At the same time, we are looking to increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route along the existing Old Military Road, with the first phase of the proposed improvements, comprising the realignment of the southern end of the road, expected to begin later this year.

“These developments underline our determination to work with key stakeholders and local communities to ensure Argyll and Bute remains open for business, and recognise clear communications is at the heart of this approach.

“The Scottish Government also remains committed to upgrading the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan and will ensure that the timing of the construction works are planned to minimise disruption to road users across both projects.”

Council executive director Kirsty Flanagan previously said in her report: “Whilst it is accepted that these traffic flows are modest in the national scale of traffic movements the A83 is a lifeline route for much of Argyll and Bute and as such this long-term disruption on the main line of the road could have significant impacts on our future economic viability and ability to attract population and additional investment.

“It is also worth considered what additional impact there will be on investment decisions on the A82 with programmed works along Loch Lomond.

“It seems very unlikely that work will be implemented on both trunk routes simultaneously and further clarification on this important issue is urgently required as the A82 is a critical lifeline route for Argyll and Bute.”