The A83 trunk road between Tarbet and Inveraray in Scotland has reopened to all traffic after being closed for five days due to multiple landslides caused by heavy rainfall.
How the landslides happened
The area around the A83 saw a month’s worth of rainfall, around 160mm, fall over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7. This triggered seven landslides that reached the road, with the A83/A815 junction to the west end of Glen Kinglas badly affected. The Rest and Be Thankful, a scenic spot on the road, also suffered a small landslip.
How the cleanup was done
BEAR Scotland, the company responsible for managing and maintaining the trunk road network in north west Scotland, mobilized its teams to clear the debris from the road and the drainage systems. Over 12,000 tonnes of material were removed from the verges and culverts. The teams also inspected the hillside for any further risks and installed additional catch fences to prevent future landslides.
How the traffic was diverted
During the closure of the A83, motorists had to use a diversion route via the A82, A85 and A819, which added about an hour to their journey time. Alternatively, they could use a local access route via the Old Military Road (OMR), which was opened under convoy on Monday, October 9. The OMR runs parallel to the A83 and can be used as an emergency bypass in case of landslides.
How the reopening was announced
Following hillside inspections on Wednesday, October 11, BEAR Scotland confirmed that the A83 was safe to reopen to all traffic at 3pm. The company thanked the local residents, businesses and motorists for their patience and support during the challenging time. It also said that it would continue to monitor the affected areas and work with geotechnical engineers to ensure the safety and benefits of the road.
How the road is being improved
The A83 is a vital lifeline for communities and businesses in Argyll and Bute. It has been prone to landslides in the past, especially at the Rest and Be Thankful. The Scottish government has invested over £79 million since 2007 to mitigate the landslide risks and enhance the resilience of the road. Some of the measures include installing debris fences, catch pits, culverts and sensors along the route.
What’s next for the A83
The reopening of the A83 is a welcome relief for many people who rely on it for their daily travel and livelihood. However, there is still a need for long-term solutions to prevent further disruptions and damages caused by landslides. The Scottish government has commissioned a study to explore various options for improving the route, including building a new road or tunnel. The study is expected to be completed by spring 2024.