In an apologetic letter to Highlands & Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor, one of the Scots Tories’ few bright sparks, Transport Minister Keith Brown reveals that a survey of geotechnical engineers of the affected hillside has revealed ‘substantial tension cracks’ and has indicated ‘a potential for a far larger landslip to occur’ on the A83 trunk road at Rest and Be Thankful.
In apologising for the ;disruption and inconvenience’ following the latest landslip in December 2011, Mr Brown also states that Transport Scotland will be considering the feasibility of a range of options ‘including the establishment of an emergency diversion route via an existing forestry haul road.’
Jamie McGrigor, who made urgent representations to the Minister on this subject on the 1st of December and who raised the closure with the First Minister at First Minister’s Question Time in the Scottish Parliament that week, says: ‘I am prepared to give a cautious welcome to the news that Transport Scotland will be looking at how the existing forestry haul route might be used as a diversion in the event of further closures; this is something I and my colleague Councillor Donald Kelly have, for some time now, been calling for.
‘The A83 is a key trunk road route which is absolutely critical to the economy of the whole of Argyll & Bute and especially Campbeltown and Kintyre and residents and businesses alike remain very worried that they will be affected by further closures caused by future landslips. Ministers and Transport Scotland need to do all in their power both to prevent further landslips and to ensure smooth contingency measures can be put in place if we face further problems.
‘I will be questioning the Transport Minister in more detail on this subject in Parliament at Question Time on January 19th. In the meantime I continue to urge constituents and businesses to give their backing to the Sign for the A83 petition being co-ordinated by Cllr Donald Kelly and others. It is vital that pressure is maintained on the Scottish Government to recognise the strategic importance of the A83.’
NOTE: Here is the letter from Transport Minister,Keith Brown in response to Jamie McGrigor MSP: Trasnport Minister to Jamie McGrigor MSP on A83