Road prone to catastrophic landslides could finally have solution


Catastrophic landslides that threaten a road in Scotland could be deterred following a £470 million investment.  

Transport Scotland has unveiled plans to build a huge debris flow shelter over the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83 in Argyll, following historic incidence of major rockfall. 

What’s the story? 

Landslides in the Glen Croe valley are a long-standing problem, particularly in bad weather.   

In 2020, 6,000 tonnes of debris cascaded down a 650ft hillside following heavy rainfall, blocking the notorious A83 in both directions for the second time that year. 

The Old Military Road (OMR), which had during previous landslides been used as an alternative route when the road was impassible, also had to be closed. 

Geotechnical specialists carried out safety inspections of the area at the time, which at certain points had seen “boulders the size of cars” hitting the A83, and local politicians pressured the Scottish Government to find a solution fast. 


Debris flow shelters are akin to a tunnel with one open side and are a recognised means of protecting transport infrastructure and its users from falling rock and debris. 

Credit: Transport Scotland.

They have been successfully used in areas susceptible to debris flows or landslides across Europe for years.  

The solution is Transport Scotland’s preferred option following design and assessment work on five possibilities through the Glen Croe valley. 

It is also exploring ways to “increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route” along Old Military Road.  

A medium-term solution will begin later this year with realignment of the southern end of the route. 

An online exhibition has gone live where the public can view and comment on the multi-million-pound proposal.  

“The identification of the preferred route option through the Glen Croe valley is a very important milestone in finding a solution to this long-standing problem,” said minister for transport, Kevin Stewart MSP. 

“Work will now be taken forward at pace to further develop our proposals, including the detailed development and assessment of the preferred option along with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment, draft Road Orders and draft Compulsory Purchase Orders.” 

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