No rest at the A83 ‘Rest and Be Thankful’

14 November 2012
Further construction work to mitigate against landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 is getting under way

More investment and construction works update

Further construction work to mitigate against landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 is getting under way on the ground.

Work to improve the Old Military Road, which is to be used as an emergency route for trunk road traffic in the event of a road closure, has started today on land which is in private ownership, following the signing of a formal legal agreement with the landowner this afternoon.

Completion of this section of the new road is expected to take between nine and twelve weeks.

Transport Minister, Keith Brown said:

“Since I was last on site four weeks ago after chairing a very successful A83 Taskforce meeting, mitigation work at the Rest and Be Thankful has continued apace with a number of strands of work completed and more getting under way.

“I am acutely aware of the community’s desire to see an emergency route in place and I am delighted that more progress has been made in recent weeks towards bringing the Old Military Road up to the standard required. Foundation works, tarmac and drainage works on those sections of road not on private land are very nearly complete.

“Having always been subject to a formal, legally binding agreement with the landowner - an agreement which has been signed today, the contractor is now able to move plant and equipment onto the private land and full construction works are now underway on this section of the emergency route.

“The team on the ground has already been taking forward all possible strands of work available to them in the interim with vital survey work carried out to better determine the specific engineering required on the three bridges which sit on private land.

“This has allowed us to refine the overall investment needed for the emergency route and we are providing additional investment – some £2.4 million in total – to accommodate the technical work required to bring the bridges up to standard and ensure the emergency route is available at the earliest opportunity. The community deserves nothing less.

“The programme of works on the emergency route has been revised and I have urged the team on the ground to move ahead as quickly as possible.

“Elsewhere, the first two phases of work some £550,000 to install debris flow netting on the hillside concluded last month, with phases three and four due to get under way this month. We have provided a further investment of some £750,000 for this new phase of work which will provide landslip mitigation measures with capacity for nearly 1500 cubic metres of material at key risk points along the hillside. 

“This brings total investment on the latest raft of mitigation work to over £3.7 million – a clear sign of our intent to find solutions to the unique challenges at the Rest and Be Thankful to keep the A83 open and operational.

“The feasibility study looking at more permanent solutions to landslides in the area remains on schedule for publication at the end of the year.

“Our commitment remains to do all we can to put in place measures to mitigate against landslips and I will continue to press all those involved in this work of the need to deliver for communities who rely on this vital artery through Argyll.”


  • A new Transport Scotland web portal has been set-up on the RABT
  • Transport Scotland considers that the Old Military Road has a number of advantages over the forest track as an emergency diversion. It is wider with no steep slopes over most of its length. The engineering is simpler and the alignment is generally straighter with less severe consequences, should a vehicle leave the road. In addition, the road construction is more substantial reducing the need for thick resurfacing layers to be laid to carry traffic loads..  Some of this road is privately owned and permission is necessary from the landowner before construction starts.  This includes accommodation work, compensation and agreement to the procedures that would be set in place when the road is required for use.  These complex and voluntary arrangements can take some time to agree but commitment has been confirmed by the landowner to allow us to plan ahead as fast as possible.
  • Earlier this year Transport Scotland announced a study to investigate the feasibility of improvements on the A83 trunk road. The study has looked closely at what more can be done in managing the effects of landslides at the Rest and be Thankful, including long-term engineering options such as rock shelters, stabilisation using vegetation techniques and investigating alternative access routes to mid Argyll. The study is expected to report on schedule by the end of the year.
  • In recent years, the Scottish Government has invested over £16 million on the maintenance of the trunk road section of the A83. For example, Transport Scotland has carried out a route accident reduction plan study along the entire length of the A83 trunk road from Arrochar to Furnace. The resulting scheme was broken down into 3 phases to allow construction over a 2 year period, to the value of £615,000.  The works installed included surfacing, high friction surfacing, signing, lining and bend assessment works to provide drivers with a consistent message when approaching challenging bends along the route.


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