A £1.8m contact has been awarded to carry out preliminary ground investigations to help identify a long-term solution for the landslip-prone A83 Rest and Be Thankful.
Raeburn Drilling & Geotechnical Ltd will undertake the work, which is part of efforts to identify a preferred route option.
Transport Scotland confirmed on Friday that the investigations are scheduled to begin next month, with the work expected to last between eight and ten weeks.
The cost of the works – which will help to inform the design process for the scheme – are said to reflect both the “challenging landscape” presented at the route and the “range and nature” of the options under consideration.
Transport minister Graeme Dey said: “Addressing the resilience of the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful is one of this government’s top priorities.
“Local residents and road users can be assured that the situation is being treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves, with measures to maintain connectivity on a short, medium and long-term basis all being pursued.
“Identifying the preferred route corridor for a resilient long-term solution last year was a major step forward for this vital work and we continue to push forward the design of alternative options within that online corridor.
“The ground investigations, which are part of the necessary baseline data that we are collecting, are expected to start next month and will help inform that design work as we look to identify a preferred route option next year.
“We recognise that the timescales for developing an alternative to the current route and finding a long-term solution to the challenges created by the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83 are frustrating for the local community. However, this scheme is technically challenging and the landscape is dynamic so it is vital we understand the terrain we are working in, in order to develop a suitable solution of the correct standard in the correct place.
“In recognition of the urgency to find a solution Transport Scotland is also progressing work to develop a medium-term resilient route through Glen Croe while the long-term solution is developed.
“We will bring forward proposals for this by late 2022. This work includes consideration of utilising the existing forestry track.”