THE fastest alternative route to the A83 Rest And Be Thankful has reopened after emergency teams cleared debris from huge landslides.

Heavy rain across Argyll and Bute on Tuesday caused both the main route and the Old Military Road (OMR) to be blocked, with around 6000 tonnes of debris cascading down the hillsides.

Large boulders left on the A83 – including one weighing 100 tonnes – were dislodged by a 42-strong team and a helicopter on Thursday, with stabilisation work continuing over the weekend.

Teams also worked to clear around 2000 tonnes of material from the OMR, which has previously been used as a diversion when the A83 has been blocked, with a protective bund constructed along its edge.

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Road management and maintenance organisation Bear Scotland gave the green light for the OMR to reopen to traffic shortly after 9.15am on Saturday.

It will operate with a 24-hour convoy system as a local diversion for the Rest And Be Thankful.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, who clashed with the Greens over road improvements in the area earlier this week, welcomed the news on Twitter.

He posted: “Good news. #ArgyllandBute now even more open for business! Grateful for huge amount of work that has gone into clearing and getting it open 24 hours a day. Work now concentrated on clearing & repairing main carriageway after the massive slip in torrential rain last week.”

READ MORE: SNP and Greens in war of words over Rest and Be Thankful landslip

Eddie Ross, Bear Scotland's north west representative, commented: "Stabilisation work continues on the A83 and will continue into next week when a timetable for reopening will be finalised.

"We thank all road users and the local community for their patience while we do all we can to reach a safe reopening of the A83.

"Argyll remains open for business and we encourage road users to plan ahead by checking Traffic Scotland for up to date journey information."