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Mudslip triggers call for extra hill checks

HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE contractors this week urged the Scottish Executive to order patrols of trunk roads at risk from landslips after 20 vehicles narrowly avoided a massive mudslide.

Contractor Bear Scotland said that patrols could help ensure the safety of motorists on at risk trunk roads during bouts of heavy rain.

'We have suggested to the Scottish Executive that when heavy rain is forecast we patrol these locations to monitor water courses and hillsides, ' said Bear Scotland area manager Jim Stewart.

Last month more than 10,000m 3of mud, boulders and trees engulfed a section of the A85 in Glen Ogle after heavy rain.

The slide occurred at around 5.30pm on 18 August on a rocky hillside coated with a 100mm to 300mm of topsoil.

It is thought the soil became unstable after being saturated by heavy rain over a nine day period.

Around 20 vehicles narrowly avoided the slip after a smaller landslip brought traffic to a halt near the site of the mudslide.

A Bear Scotland maintenance team was on the scene just after the slip occurred, and drove beyond it in a four wheel drive vehicle.

The team went back to reassure motorists, but its vehicle was then swept away in the bigger mudslide.

Scottish transport minister Nicol Stephen said he would commission a study into 'the impact of what appears to be increasingly severe weather conditions on the whole Scottish trunk road network.

'We need to identify potential trouble spots and receive expert advice. It seems likely that these landslips will remain a threat and nobody should underestimate how serious each incident could have been, ' he said.

White Young Green associate director Chris Milne said the Scottish Executive would need to rank areas at risk from landslide. It could then decide whether to spend money on slope stabilisation work, improved drainage or increased monitoring.

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