ARGYLL and Bute Council’s leader is calling for urgent action on the A83, which was closed following a landslide on Wednesday August 1.
However, he reaffirmed that Argyll is well and truly open for business despite the issues at the Rest and Be Thankful.
Speaking on Thursday, while investigations continued at the site, Councillor McCuish said: “Although this is the first landslide this year, this week saw the third closure of the A83. There have been five major landslips in the past five years, all of which have caused damage and disruption. This situation cannot continue.
“Obviously the first priority is to get the road reopened and we need that to happen as soon as possible.
“Our local businesses are suffering. I urge Transport Scotland and the other agencies involved to pull out all the stops in order to get traffic moving again.”
Councillor McCuish also pointed out the need to resolve the A83 issue in the long term, adding: “Clearly, changing weather and land use patterns are to blame, rather than any individual or organisation. The Scottish Government has been studying the problem and working on temporary alleviations. However, we do need further action now – both in providing a short term diversion route and a long term solution.
“The use of forestry roads as a diversion meantime was pushed forward after last December’s closure. Transport Scotland must get these – or the alternative, the old road – operational during the autumn in order to reduce travelling time if the main route closes again.
“We also need a clear plan for a long term solution which will restore confidence in the road and ensure it is usable in all conditions.
“Public resources are tight, but the A83 is the main route into Cowal, Mid Argyll and Kintyre. It is a vital economic and social lifeline.”
He continued: “I have today asked the Scottish Government for an urgent meeting to discuss both the short term action and the long term answer. The A83 must be restored to full working capacity and Argyll and Bute Council will be a committed and willing partner in making that happen.”
And in the meantime, Argyll and Bute is still very much open for business, emphasised Councillor McCuish: “The weather forecast over the next few days is much better than conditions earlier this week, which were exceptional.
“I would encourage everyone to come for a day, a weekend or even longer, enjoy our wonderful scenery and experience our great hospitality. Argyll and Bute is always a great place to work, live and visit.”