FAQ

The Impact of Landslides on Transport Infrastructure: An Ongoing Challenge

Landslides present a persistent challenge to transport infrastructure worldwide, and Scotland is no exception. The recent landslides on the A83, a crucial artery in the Highland region, have once again highlighted the vulnerability of roads to natural disasters.

On Saturday morning, Kiera Smith and her mother Fiona experienced firsthand the devastating power of landslides when their car was swept into a ravine. Fortunately, they managed to escape unharmed, thanks to the timely warning from a passing police officer. This incident serves as a reminder of the risks faced by motorists when landslides occur.

The A83 at Butterbridge, near the Rest and Be Thankful, has been prone to landslides in recent years. Despite periodic closures and temporary solutions, such as diversion routes and clean-up operations, the issue persists. The landslides on Saturday were the first major incidents since a series of landslides three years ago, which brought the condition of the road into the spotlight.

BEAR Scotland, the agency responsible for road maintenance, has confirmed that the A83 has once again been affected by landslides. These ongoing disruptions raise concerns about the long-term viability of the road as a crucial transportation link. The A83 connects the Mull of Kintyre and southern Argyll to Loch Lomond, facilitating the movement of approximately 1.3 million vehicles each year.

Campaigners have been advocating for a comprehensive solution to address the landslide issue. They argue that past efforts, which have cost over £80 million, have been ineffective. Calls for a full public inquiry and the involvement of transport ministers have intensified.

In June of this year, ministers announced plans to construct a mile-long “landslip shelter” at a cost of £470 million. This long-term solution aims to protect the A83 from future landslides. However, given the ongoing challenges faced by the road and the unpredictable nature of landslides, the effectiveness of this solution remains to be seen.

As Scotland continues to grapple with severe weather events and the impact of climate change, safeguarding transport infrastructure against landslides is of utmost importance. The recent events on the A83 serve as a stark reminder of the need for proactive measures to ensure the safety and reliability of crucial transport links.

Q: Why is the A83 vulnerable to landslides?

A: The A83 at Butterbridge, near the Rest and Be Thankful, is situated in an area prone to landslides due to its geographical location and exposed hillside.

Q: How often has the A83 been closed due to landslides?

A: The A83 has experienced periodic closures over the years, with recent major landslides occurring three years ago and again just recently.

Q: What is being done to address the landslide issue on the A83?

A: In June, ministers announced plans to construct a mile-long “landslip shelter” at a cost of £470 million. This long-term solution aims to protect the road from future landslides.

Q: How important is the A83 as a transport link?

A: The A83 serves as a vital transportation link, connecting the Mull of Kintyre and southern Argyll to Loch Lomond. Approximately 1.3 million vehicles travel this route annually.