Donald Clark of the renowned George Hotel in Inveraray, a senior and major businessman in Argyll, has read and digested the various schemes proposed by Transport Scotland for the A83 ans says that, while they are comprehensive and thought provoking, he feels strongly that they are way off the mark.
He says: ‘The preferred option at the moment is the cheapest option. But is this a wise choice? I think not.
‘Their option is to use a road deemed unsuitable over 70 years ago as a diversion route and could in the worst scenario be a 40 minute delay using a convoy system.
‘I cannot accept this as a forward thinking and long term solution to what has been a serious problem to the life and commercial wellbeing of a large part of Argyll over the last 8 to 10 years.’
Mr Clark suggests that there is another simpler option which should be considered – one which permanently solves the problem at an affordable price.
‘In simple layman’s terms there is an ongoing problem with 5 gullies and a large area that is unstable at the bottom end of the problem zone that may slip and could end up sliding into a large depression.
‘Including that area we have to provide overhead cover in 3 x 10m, 1 x 20m and the bottom area of 80 to 100 metres which have had slides.
‘You would then require a total canopy cover of 3 x 20m, 1 x 40m and one of 120 m at the bottom end to fully
protect the A83.
‘I might add that the only spillages onto the road have been at the top 4 sites so in all probability the bottom section will not be required. It seems to be adequately protected by the present barriers but if needs must it could be done at a later date. This could also be the case if any gullies cause problems in the future
Donald Clark has contacted a good friend of his of many years standing who is an internationally renowned structural engineer – John Addison, who exposed on BBC television the Edinburgh scams on compulsory house repairs. He has asked Mr Addison - to to have a brief look at the overall picture and to come up with his suggestions and give a basic costing. Mr Clark is certain that this will be a fraction of the various schemes proposed by Transport Scotland; and Mr Addison is back in Scotland any day now.
Mr Clark says: ‘My own thoughts are to deal with the top 4 sites.
- Dig 4 to 5 metres into the hillside to give the width to facilitate the works with a minimum of disruption ( we’re well used to over a year of lights and single file traffic).
- Simplify the design with the rocks and muck being shed above the road using canopies and not as the design of the 1.2km canopy option which has the debris being run under the road with the potential of blockage [Ed: our emphasis] – and this is a much more expensive design to execute.
- By using pre-stressed beams built off site, the disruption caused during construction would be kept to the minimum.
- With random rubble to blend in the entrances and exits it will have less of a visual impact than the netting that has already been erected.
‘The use of a much simpler design would have a dramatic effect on costs, a speedier delivery and need less than 100m of canopy cover – as opposed to the 1.2km recommended in the feasibility study.
‘This radically changes the choice.This plan is cost effective and will give huge savings on the current schemes.
‘The thought provoking idea of de-trunking the Rest is an interesting idea but is a non starter.
‘Building a new trunk road either through Glen Fyne or Kinglas would add at least 30 mins in journey time and put extra pressure on the already stretched and poor section of the A82.
‘A bit of a red herring and how much did that part of the study cost? ‘
Mr Clark has been up to the Rest already this morning and had yet another close look at the problem areas. His analysis is that there are three relatively small slippage areas which could be easily diverted over the A83.
It is both fun, refreshing and constructive to see an original mind with practical knowledge setting itself to this challenge.
Donald Clark is interested in having these thoughts circulated for responses and perhaps other ideas that these provoke. So comments, as usual, will be very welcome.
This is a collective problem and it will take ideas and pressure from everyone to get it sensibly resolved.