THE public are to be consulted over the proposed building of a multi-million pound road shelter to protect a key stretch of Scottish road from being regularly blocked by landslides.

The A83, known as the Rest and Be Thankful, forms a vital transport link for Argyll communities and businesses, with around 1.3 million vehicles passing through it every year.

But due to its vulnerability to landslides from the hillside above, the road has been subject to protracted roadworks, with travel times regularly being hit by long delays.

A tunnel-like shelter has been proposed to solve the problem.

It would stretch for almost a mile and include a catch pit and protection wall to shield drivers from falling debris.

Transport Scotland said it estimates the project, which closely follows the mile-and-a-half route from Croe Water to the Rest and Be Thankful car park, will cost taxpayers between £405 million and £470 million.

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The decision to approve it as the preferred option of the Scottish Government comes after the success of similar shelters across Europe and design work on five options which go through Glen Croe valley.

Transport Scotland said an online exhibition of the plans has gone live and in-person events will be held for four days from June 12 in Arrochar and then in Lochgilphead.

Details of the public exhibitions are as follows:

The Three Villages Hall, Arrochar, G83 7AB

  • Monday 12 June, 12 to 7 pm
  • Tuesday 13 June, 10am to 5 pm

Lochgilphead Baptist Church Hall, Lochgilphead, PA31 8LP

  • Wednesday 14 June, 12 to 7 pm
  • Thursday 15 June, 10am to 5 pm

Transport minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government has been “working tirelessly to find a long-term solution” for the route, and that selecting the preferred option is a “very important milestone” in the work.

He added: “We want to hear from the public on our proposals, and both the online exhibition and public exhibitions in two weeks are your opportunity to tell us what you think.

“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.”

While the road shelter is part of its long-term solution, Transport Scotland said it is looking “to increase the resilience of the temporary diversion route along the existing Old Military Road, having identified the preferred route solution for it late last year”.

Measures taken on that route are hoped to reduce closures due to flooding.