Relaxation and be Grateful: £8.5m of public cash ‘wasted’ on ‘sticking plaster’ A83 fixes in 5 years – NewsEverything Scotland

SOME £8.5m has been ‘wasted’ on momentary ‘sticking plaster’ fixes to attempt to forestall landslips on one in every of Scotland’s key roads over 5 years.

Anger has erupted after it was confirmed {that a} additional £3.5m has now been despatched apart for extra catchpits as a part of a brand new stage of landslip mitigation measures on the A83 on the Relaxation and be Grateful.

It should pave the way in which for 9 months of disruption on what’s Scotland’s most infamous street.

Building of the most recent catch-pit on the landslip-prone street was accomplished final month having taken over twice as lengthy to put in as promised.

Scottish Authorities-appointed upkeep agency Bear Scotland mentioned the mitigation measure which began in September, final yr, was to take as much as 5 months to finish.

READ MORE: Chaos on A83 at Relaxation and be Grateful will shut companies and is a ‘catastrophe’ for financial system and jobs, say campaigners

Now it has been confirmed {that a} additional £3.5m is to be spent on the development of an additional catch-pit subsequent to the trunk street, and will likely be positioned on the foot of the steep sided channel shaped by the most important landslides in August and September final yr.

Bear Scotland has mentioned the brand new catchpit will likely be shaped in bolstered concrete given the bottom situations related to the situation and development is anticipated to take roughly 9 months to finish, topic to climate and hillside situations. The upkeep agency has mentioned that for security causes momentary site visitors lights will likely be in place on the A83 all through the development interval.

The catch pits are designed to ‘seize’ particles materials from a landslip and forestall it from reaching the street.

Bear Scotland, which was appointed by Scottish Authorities company Transport Scotland, says that when the sixth catch-pit is constructed, it would present an extra 1,600 tonnes of particles storage capability, bringing the entire quantity safety of the catch-pits to roughly 21,600 tonnes.


It comes amidst rising criticism over cash “wasted” over failed momentary fixes to the A83.

Strikes over the most recent measures to forestall street closures got here after a significant landslip round 650 toes above the carriageway shut the street in August, final yr.

Engineers mentioned 1000’s of tonnes of particles together with car-sized boulders slid onto the street after 100mm of rain hit the Argyll hills.

One of many landslip mitigation catch-pits, constructed to forestall landslip materials reaching the street, caught round 2,000 tonnes – but it surely didn’t cease 1000’s extra tonnes hitting the street.

The slip ushered in a sequence of street closures for the vital Highlands route which by January had meant it was open for barely three weeks within the area of 5 months.

In February the A83 and the official single observe diversion route, the Outdated Navy Highway which runs by means of the centre of Glen Croe was shut after a whole bunch of tons of particles fell in one other landslip.

READ MORE: The A83 at Relaxation and be Grateful to close once more after heavy rain prompts security fears

That’s regardless of £1m being spent on 175-metre lengthy, 6.6 metre excessive barrier having been constructed subsequent to the OMR to cease particles from a possible landslip.

A marketing campaign – backed by 1500 companies fought for a everlasting answer by 2024 after an over 15-year failure to forestall disruption.

Transport minister Graeme Dey mentioned that bettering the resilience of the A83 on the Relaxation and Be Grateful “is one in every of our high priorities” and that they had been persevering with to work on a everlasting long run answer to the problem.

John Gurr, chairman of The Relaxation and Be Grateful Marketing campaign mentioned: “It’s some huge cash spent on issues that aren’t going to cease the landslips and never going to maintain the street open. Even with the brand new catch pits the A83 will nonetheless be closed when it rains, and we’re unlikely to have a two method street again in operation for one more 10 months.

“We nonetheless have no idea what the plans are for a everlasting answer. We’d like Transport Scotland decide and ship a resilient answer far sooner than deliberate 10 years’ time.” One other campaigner mentioned: “This cash would by no means have been wanted to have been spent had the issues right here been correctly recognised within the first place and handled correctly. As an alternative we now have had a few years of prevaricating and the ensuing waste of cash.”


A helicopter was utilized in August to make a 100 tonne boulder secure by utilizing water baggage to manoeuvre it right into a secure location

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron mentioned: “Motorists have suffered distress on this key route for a lot too lengthy. It’s utterly unacceptable that tens of millions extra of public cash is about to be flung on the Relaxation and Be Grateful, with none ensures that it’ll remedy any issues.

“Eye-watering quantities of cash have been spent over time, however there nonetheless seems to be no finish in sight.

“SNP ministers have had years to discover a answer for the Relaxation and Be Grateful and should ship that everlasting answer as a matter of urgency.

“Fixed closures and diversions are solely dangerous to the native financial system the longer they go on. I’ll proceed to push the SNP-Inexperienced Authorities to make sure that this essential route for rural communities is match for objective as quickly as doable.”

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland’s north west consultant mentioned: “Because the landslides occurred, we now have launched measures geared toward making journey by means of Glen Croe extra resilient, together with the availability of particles fences, enhancements to floor water administration, the development of a major momentary bund on the Outdated Navy Highway. Most not too long ago, we now have resurfaced the Outdated Navy Highway to considerably enhance the situation of the native diversion route when its use turns into essential.

“Building of the brand new catch-pit is a fancy operation given the character of the realm inside which it’s to be constructed, and we may have geotechnical specialists on website each day to observe the works as they progress over the approaching months.

“Momentary site visitors lights on the A83 are essential to hold our groups in addition to customers of the route secure, and the crew will do all they will to finish the challenge as shortly and safely as doable.

“We thank all street customers and the area people for his or her continued endurance whereas we do everything we will to progress with the continuing mitigation measures on the Relaxation.”

A brand new A83 route which may embrace a tunnel near the A83 has been recognized because the Scottish Authorities’s favoured everlasting answer – however it’s a long-term answer which may take seven to 10 years to finish after being permitted.

However that selection has now led to 5 new choices on the desk for the brand new Glen Croe route, a few of which embrace tunnels as much as 1.Eight miles lengthy.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey mentioned: “In addition to bringing briefly and medium time period measures to extend resilience, we proceed to progress work on a everlasting long run answer to the problem. We respect that the timescale to develop an alternate route is irritating for the area people, however we’ll look to carry ahead the programme the place we will.”

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