Helicopter launched to aid Rest And Be Thankful clear-up

Around 6000 tonnes of debris hit the road amid heavy rainfall across Argyll and Bute on Tuesday.

A helicopter is being used to clear a 100-tonne boulder from above the A83 Rest And Be Thankful as efforts to clear a large landslip continue.

Landslips hit the road amid heavy rainfall across Argyll and Bute on Tuesday, with 6000 tonnes of debris sliding down a hillside and blocking the route.

Assessments of damage are continuing on Thursday with a team of 42 people working on the road and managing traffic diversions.

Overnight, around 100 tonnes of further material reached the A83 roadside via a steep channel created in Tuesday evening’s landslip.

Heavy rain caused landslip.

A large boulder, approximately 100 tonnes in size, was exposed in one of the steep channels above the A83 and a helicopter is using water bags to manoeuvre it into a safe location.

Road management and maintenance organisation BEAR Scotland said teams are working to clear the roads with “dedicated personnel scanning the hillside for safety to check that no further material could impact on operations below”.

The A83 and the Old Military Road (OMR), previously used as an alternative route when the main road is impassable, remain closed.

Western Ferries has also added additional sailings between Gourock and Dunoon to aid travel.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s north-west representative, said: “We have rigorous geotechnical assessments under way on the site and are continuing investigations into how this area has been impacted by Tuesday’s landslide.

“A helicopter is being used to address a large boulder exposed on the hillside which is in the process of being made safe.

“We have a good weather window today so we’re pressing on as much as we can with the clear-up of the OMR and also to clear more material from the A83 so we can fully assess the extent of the damage.”

He added: “This is a challenging process due to the amount of debris exposed and the embankments are being carefully monitored by personnel trained in scanning the hillside to alert for any further movements on the slope which could impact on any operations below.

“All efforts are in place to address the landslip as quickly as possible, however safety is paramount and we cannot open either the OMR or the A83 until we are absolutely satisfied that the routes are safe.”

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