BUSINESSES are being damaged by regular landslides on a gateway route and it is only a matter of time before someone is killed, it has been claimed.

Jane Ireland, owner of the Slanj Loch Lomond restaurant in Tarbet, said she no longer feels safe travelling on the A83 Rest And Be Thankful and is calling for a permanent solution.

Debris blocked the road during heavy rain in the region on Tuesday, with 6000 tonnes of material sliding down the hillside. It also covered the Old Military Road, which has previously been used as a diversion when the A83 has been blocked.

Teams are continuing to clear the debris and hoped the Old Military Road can be re-opened today.

Ireland, 53, said several bookings at her restaurant have been cancelled as a result and her takings are down 50%. The stretch of the A83 has been closed a number of times due to landslips – including for nine days in 2018 – and Ireland said she expects it to be closed for a significant period on this occasion.

She said: “I’ve got to drive up this every day thinking ‘oh my God’ – it’s not safe. This [landslip] is the closest we’ve been to a fatality – does there have to be a fatality before they do anything about it?”

Ireland, who chairs a group representing 47 local businesses, said the financial situation is already difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone is teetering on the edge to try to get through winter and then this happens. It’s going to have a huge impact,” she said. “This is one of the direct routes into Argyll – it wouldn’t happen if it was the M8. You wouldn’t have the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow closed for nine days.

“It could effectively be the end of the season, of what little season we have left.”

Ireland said locals feel they are being ignored by Argyll and Bute Council and Transport Scotland.

“The money spent so far hasn’t been well spent,” she said. “There has to be a permanent solution. They are not listening to businesses and they are not listening to people that live in the local area. They are not having to drive the road every day.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Our operating company, Bear Scotland, is working to assess, clear and then re-open the road as quickly as possible, but can only operate when it is safe to do so.

“To date, more than £13 million has been invested in landslide measures at the Rest And Be Thankful and the Old Military Road, which have helped keep the road open for an estimated 48 days when it would otherwise have closed.

“This is part of the £79m invested in the wider maintenance and resilience of the A83 since 2007.

“We appreciate this will be scant consolation to those affected and recognise a permanent solution is key, albeit challenging, both from an engineering and financial perspective.

“The next taskforce meeting is due to convene next month.”