A research facility to help combat landslides has opened near Dundee.
A landslide hit the A85 in August after heavy rains
Trade and Industry Minister Nigel Griffiths officially opened Dundee University's CIRIA centre for construction research and innovation.
A centrifuge at the lab will allow scientists to test technologies to prevent landslips, like the one which hit the A85 at Lochearnhead in August.
The road was completely destroyed by mud and water and 57 motorists had to be airlifted to safety.
The first centre of its kind outside London, the £1.25m facility will provide a physical link between teaching and research and brings together civil engineers and researchers.
Professor Tim Broyd, chief executive of CIRIA, said: "I am confident the new office will allow us to respond more quickly to the needs of the Scottish construction industry and to develop our activities in the region still further."
'Strength and quality'
Road operator Bear Scotland has received £1.5m in government funding towards the repairs of the A85 which are due to be completed by spring 2005.
The repairs include installing heavy-duty rock sidings to burns and streams to reinforce them in event of future downpours.
The opening of the centre on Friday was marked with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, watched by university principal Sir Alan Langlands and representatives of the construction industry.
Professor Michael Davies, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical
Sciences, said: "The opening of our new research laboratories and the decision
by CIRIA to base their UK operation outside London at the University of Dundee
is proof of the strength and quality of our engineering research.
"We are leading the way in serving the construction industry and, in addition
to our internationally recognised technical research, we want to contribute to
the work of the Scottish Executive's new Scottish Centre for Construction,
Innovation and Excellence."
The centre's opening was supported by Scottish Enterprise Tayside and took
place during National Construction Week.