Emergency road to be built after landslide cuts off community 

The A816 remains blocked by 6,000 tonnes of debris after record-breaking rainfall over the weekend of October 7.

An emergency road is to be built after a remote community’s vital road link in Argyll was cut off due to a landslide.

Following a weekend of severe rainfall on October 7, more than 6,000 tonnes of debris continues to block a 200-metre section of the A816 near Ardfern on the Craignish peninsula.

Residents have called for more support following the blockage, with the route to the nearest town of Lochgilphead rendered unpassable.

Argyll and Bute Council, who originally said the road would be cleared within “weeks”, have said that while they have made progress in clearing the route, a number of “precarious boulders” have complicated the effort.

The road is completely unpassable. Gordon Turner via Supplied

Providing an update, the council said: “We have carried out a huge amount of work towards getting this route safely reopened since the initial 6,000 tonne landslip over the weekend of October 7.

“We are making good progress in clearing debris from the road. The crucial element is stabilising the hillside to ensure that it is safe.

“The hillside has a number of precarious boulders (weighing as much as 200 plus tonnes) at various points. Some of these boulders are over 100 metres above the road.”

The authority has now revealed that they are working to have an emergency route along the A816 in place by mid-December.

They also said, depending on the stability of the hillside, that the road could be diverted on a “permanent basis”.

The update added: “Due to ongoing movement on the hillside, particularly in wet weather, and the number and size of boulders, we have also been working to progress a diversion option to provide resilience and to open up a route in as short a timescale as possible.

“At this stage the diversion route is going to be the most certain, and therefore fastest, way of getting a route along the A816 reopened.

“Subject to finalising a licence to occupy land we expect to have the emergency road in place mid-December, before the landslip affected part of the A816 is open.

“Medium term, the emergency road will also provide an alternative route for the A816 during very wet conditions when the hillside will be less stable.

“Long term, depending on how stable the hillside becomes it is very likely that we will divert the road on a permanent basis. This would be subject to the necessary permissions and consents required with a permanent road which take time.

“Therefore, in the short term we will continue with the clean-up and stabilisation works as well as progressing the emergency route.”

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