FUNDING for works on how to tackle landslips at Gardenstown and Crovie have been agreed by Aberdeenshire Council with it committing £2 million to develop engineering solutions.
The Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) considered the latest situation in both communities at its meeting on Thursday and took decisions which will allow further progress on the ground.
Councillors decided soil nailing is the best design solution for Crovie, protecting homes and the road into the village from a landslip which has been worsening since 2009.
The work is expected to cost in the region of £500,000 and the contract to carry out the works will be put out to tender around the start of April if design work progresses as planned.
If action is not taken there is significant risk of increased cost to deal with a larger slippage in future and the potential for substantial damage to properties at the foot of the slope.
The committee also heard the latest situation at Gardenstown, where a recent further landslip spilled debris on to the access road to the village.
The road remains closed and works are due to take place this week to pave the way for further work to try to secure the slope above the village and provide access.
The landslip first occurred in November 2017 and resulted in the closure of Harbour Road, preventing all vehicular access to the New Ground, the harbour area and Seatown.
Further slippage on March 6 following a period of bad weather restricted use of the road and resulted in planned openings being called off for safety reasons.
Atkins Ltd has been appointed to provide specialist advice to the council and to develop a solution to enable permanent unrestricted use of Harbour Road by vehicles and non-motorised users.
Since they were appointed in early January they have been developing a detailed specification for the ground investigation.
BAM Ritchies were approved to undertake ground investigation work, starting on February 14 with a programmed duration of four weeks.
Following completion of the ground investigation, a ground model will be developed and used to undertake slope stability modelling of the landslide area to ascertain the critical slip surface, estimate the volume of material that may still fail and develop a permanent solution.
As well as informing the choice of permanent solution, the investigation will also provide information necessary to make further judgements on whether it is safe to open the road more fully, or if interim measures can be put in place to stabilise the slope.
At this stage the council said it is not possible to say what form a permanent solution to the landslip will take, or how long it will take to complete the work, but it is communicating regularly with residents.
Initial indications are that a full soil nailing solution could cost around £1,500,000 to implement, though this could change, and would require further road closures during the works.
As well as agreeing the approach to be taken at Crovie, councillors agreed design and physical works for both projects will be funded from the harbour, coast protection and flooding capital budget.
The council is in dialogue with the Scottish Government about any financial assistance available to help minimise the impact on its resources, as well as speaking to the local landowners.
ISC chairman Peter Argyle said: "Clearly these are both extremely complicated and technical situations, demanding not only significant professional expertise but also significant sums of money.
"The council recognises the issues being faced by the communities of both Gardenstown and Crovie and we give reassurance that we are sympathetic, as well as being prepared to undertake significant engineering projects to give them peace of mind into the future."
The latest information on the landslip at Gardenstown can be seen at: http://bit.ly/gardenstownslip
Committee vice-chairman John Cox said: "I am pleased the council has ring-fenced funds to address the landslip issues and I look forward to seeing the consultants’ report in identifying the long-term solutions."