Update 18.05 3rd August: Site activity has been completed and following final inspection the A83 has now been reopened to traffic – ahead of schedule.
Later note at 20.00 – the Traffic Scotland website is still showing the A83 closed.
Update 17.10 3rd August: Carriageway clearance and clean-up has now been completed and latest stage is placing of concrete barrier to protect road users.
Next stage will be to be to erect Temporary Traffic Signals ahead of the final inspections before reopening at 19:00.
Update 16.25 3rd August: A83 TO RE-OPEN AT REST AND BE THANKFUL AT 19:00.
Following continued efforts through the day to remove over 1000 tonnes of debris the final elements of the clear up stage are currently ongoing and Scotland TranServ can advise that the A83 is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 19:00 this evening.
Update: 14-45 3rd August: Works to clear the carriageway are progressing well. All things being equal, it is anticipated that later this evening position will be reached where a decision can be made as to whether the road can reopen.
The situation is being continually monitored. More new around 16:00.
Update 12.45 3rd August – direct from Transport Scotland on site: Yesterday, during the time that safe access to the landslip site was possible, Transport Scotland worked fro the west – downhill, side of the spoil heap, focusing on clearing the westbound lane, giving access to Argyll.
Dirty water is one of the major signs of continuing instability on the hill. Yesterday the water was pulsing between cleaner and dirty, meaning that the situation was still unstable. Clearance, as we know, eventually had to stop for safety reasons but while the work was ongoing, the team cleared around 100 tonnes of debris.
Today the team is working from the eastern, uphill, end of the spoil heap, again focusing on clearing the westbound lane. The water is clearer today than yesterday but still sending signals of a degree of untrustworthiness of the stability of the hillside.
However, already this morning the team have cleared another 300 tonnes of debris. Together with yesterday’s effort, this means that around one third of what is now estimated as 1,200 of tonnes of debris has now been cleared.
The next move, if conditions remain safe, is to move a digger in from the west side to the central part of the spoil heap, to work on clearing the rest of the westbound lane.
We understand that, should conditions continue to permit, the westbound lane will be clear of debris in about the next two hours.
The job then is to get a concrete barrier in between that and the eastbound lane. Given the volume of debris. it is unlikely that all of the debris will be cleared from that lane at this stage.
When the barrier is installed, if the signs are that the hillside is stable, the engineers will inform Transport Scotland that the road could be opened, under traffic light controls, on the westbound lane.
The decision on whether or not to do that is up to Transport Scotland.
The elephant in the room is the weather.,
If more rain comes down, the situation would need to be reviewed again.
The engineers and the team on the road are working flat out with the single objective of doing all they can to make it possible to get the road opened to traffic again. But this is working on the borderline of safety and they have to be sensible.
So, at the moment the reopening of the road in the fairly near future is looking hopeful but it all depends on the hillside and then on Transport Scotland’s decision – and, as the responsible authority, they cannot be impetuous.
The next update will bet around 16:00.
Update 10.10 3rd August: Following an early inspection this morning operations are ongoing to clear the site with a view to opening the road at the earliest opportunity.
Updates will follow during the day.
We understand that in the landslide, some debris fell on the old military road below the A83.
Update 19.00 2nd August: Following the creation of a safety zone on the west side of the landslip, debris was removed until a point was reached when it was no longer safe to continue.
Conditions will be reassessed in the morning and if safe to do so, a safety zone will be created on the east side of the landslip and the removal work will then be restarted.
There will be more information on the situation at 09:30, tomorrow morning, 3rd August 2012.
There has been a lot of traffic today on the Western Ferries service between Gourock and Dunoon. The company has been shuttling constantly and has been able to keep the traffic moving. While full ferries have left traffic on the quayside, shuttling has meant short waiting time, with queues largely contained within the terminals at each destination.
Update 13.20 2nd August: The hillside remains unstable. Geotechnical assessments have continued through the morning and further material has continued to fall onto the carriageway.
The hillside remains in an unstable condition and monitoring is being carried out constantly.
Considerable Plant and resources remain mobilised on site to commence operations when safety concerns have been addressed.
Further rain is forecast during the afternoon period.
Geotechnical experts will continue to carry out assessments throughout the day and an update will follow at 16:00.
It is being said – unofficially – that the road will be closed for around two weeks.
Update 09.20 2nd August: The situation has worsened. There was more movement on the hillside overnight – around 4.00am – resulting in between 800 – 1000 tonnes of debris, mud and rock now blocking the carriageway.
The hillside remains in a dangerous condition and monitoring is being carried out constantly with debris still coming of the slope.
Plant and resources have been mobilised but remain on standby as it is currently considered too dangerous to commence operations.
Geotechnical experts will continue to carry out assessments throughout the day and an update will follow at 12:00.
Update 19.00 1st August: Initial assessment has been undertaken and approximately 350 tonnes of boulders and slurry is lying on the carriageway.
The failure appears to be high up on the hillside. There are also boulders in a precarious position. Dirty water continues to run of the hill side – which is indicative of continuing slope instability.
The road will therefore remain closed overnight.
Geotechnical experts will carry out assessments at first light and an update will follow at 09:00.
The A83 was closed earlier this afternoon (1st August) with another landslide leaving debris across the road. We understand that this is of the order of 50 -100 tonnes.
There is no information yet on the expected duration of the road closure, but Geotechnical experts are evaluating the conditions.
Diversions and alternatives
The usual hour long diversion is in place: the A82 north from Tarbet to Crianlarich and Tyndrum; the A85 from Tyndrum to the A819 for Inveraray, just west of Dalmally – and vice versa. The planned nighttime closure of the A82 at Pulpit Rock has been suspended for the time being to allow this diversion.
The A83 between Inveraray and A815 road to Dunoon remains open.
Western Ferries is runnong additinal sailings between Gourock (Inverclyde) and Hunter’s Quay on the northern fringes of Dunoon – so the A815 to Cairndow provides an alternative route for Northbound and Southbound Traffic. Western Ferries’ timetable information can be found here on the company’s website. You might as well just turn up – ths service is a virtua; shguttle,
The CalMac ferry service from Tarbert in Kintyre over to Portavadie in Cowal offers road access through to Dunoon for the Western Ferries service to Inverclyde.
This is slap bang in the middle of the height of the tourist season. It could not be more damaging to the local economy of Argyll and the Isles.
There is no alternative to an immediate address to the commissioning of the galleries that are known to be the correct permanent solution.
We will publish updated information here as we get it.
Jamie McGrigor MSP says: ‘This is disappointing and frustrating news for my constituents throughout Argyll & Bute who rely on this lifeline route and for the many visitors to the area at what is the height of the summer tourist season. I hope that the road can be re-opened as soon as possible once the debris is cleared and engineers deem it is safe for it to be reopened.
‘Today’s news emphasises the need for the Scottish Government to ensure that, in the short term, an appropriate alternative diversionary route is in place by this autumn to alleviate the impact of similar closures due to landslide, and, in addition, that it invests in the A83 to ensure that such landslides can be prevented. I and my colleague Councillor Donald Kelly will continue to maintain pressure on Ministers to make them aware of the critical and strategic importance of the A83.’