The five are: Arcadis Consulting (UK)/Sweco UK; Arup & Fairhurst; Atkins/WSP UK; Stantec UK / RPS Consulting Services; and Jacobs/Aecom. Tendering for the work began last year.
Five options including tunnelling are currently under consideration for a preferred route at Glen Croe and Transport Scotland has been consulting with the Norwegian government on how it deals with similar conditions.
Bear Scotland maintains the road on behalf of Transport Scotland. A bespoke operational strategy was implemented following significant landslides that occurred in August and September 2020.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth met the A83 Task Force to discuss the wide range of work to identify a solution to the challenges. In recognition of the disruptive closures at the Rest and Be Thankful, plans are being progressed for a medium-term resilient route through Glen Croe, with finalised proposals expected this autumn.
To help inform the design work, discussions have been held with the Norwegian government to learn lessons from their wide experience of constructing tunnels. Norway’s roads network contains many tunnels due to the landscape of the country, which is similar to that found at the Rest and Be Thankful. As such Transport Scotland has been keen to learn about Norway’s processes and methods for developing and constructing tunnelling projects.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said: “Improving the resilience of the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful remains a key transport priority for the Scottish government. So I am keen to meet the A83 Task Force to listen to and understand more about their views on our plans.
“I want to assure local residents, business and communities that we are aware of the urgent need to make progress on this – that is why we are pursuing measures to maintain connectivity on a short-, medium- and long-term basis in parallel.
“Identifying the preferred route corridor for a resilient long term solution last year was a major step forward for this vital work. With the shortlisting of five design consultants, we hope to appoint the best candidate to take forward that work as soon as due process allows. But other work will continue in the meantime.
“We intend to finalise proposals for the medium-term solution for the resilient route through Glen Croe by the Autumn. Ground investigations are now under way to help inform the design work for both the medium- and long-term options.
“As two of the five options for the long term solution include a tunnel, we have held discussions with the Norwegian government to learn from their experiences in assessing and building tunnels. As the project progresses, we will continue to learn from Norway’s experience, and that of other relevant communities and countries as we work towards finding the right solution to meet the need to create a truly resilient and safe route for the A83.