Tunnel must be given “serious consideration”


Categories: News

Long term fix must be found for Rest and Be Thankful so Argyll stays open for business

On a visit to see the clean-up operation at the Rest and Be Thankful on Friday, Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara repeated his call for a long-term solution to be found. Thousands of tonnes of falling debris – including boulders the size of Transit Vans – forced the closure of the A83 after 100mm of rain fell in just a few hours last Tuesday night, causing the worst landslide in living memory.

Since then, traffic has been diverted via the Old Military Road and while not ideal, it is working and Argyll remains open for business.

Speaking after a site meeting on the hill with Kevin Campbell, Senior Operations Manager at BEAR Scotland and local SNP councillor Iain Shonny Paterson, the local MP said: “This is the second major landslip this year that has resulted in the road being closed. With everything the economy of area has been through in 2020, this was the last thing our hospitality and tourism sector needed.”

Our ambition for the future should not be limited by what we have done in the past.”

Brendan O’Hara MP

“I appreciate the heroic efforts of the BEAR Scotland workforce in building the mitigation pits and in clearing debris from the road, these are massive tasks but we cannot go on second guessing this hillside; one which will become increasingly unstable due to climate change and increased rainfall.”

Mr. O’Hara also warmly welcomed the statement made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in parliament last week when she said  of the Rest and be Thankful; “This is the utmost priority on the part of government and clearly there is a lot of work to be done on developing that solution”.

A long-time advocate of a tunnel as a permanent answer to the problems of the A83, Mr. O’Hara, who recently joined engineers constructing undersea tunnels in the Faroe Island said that he hoped that the construction of a tunnel would be given “serious consideration” by those charged with finding the answer.

He said: “I have seen these tunnels from construction to completion; they work and have proven to be value for money in the long term. If the rest of northern Europe can build tunnels to connect their rural communities and their islands, there is absolutely no reason why Scotland cannot. Our ambition for the future should not be limited by what we have done in the past.”