M8 Motorway, Scotland

Transport Scotland has announced plans to upgrade the motorway network in the central region of the country at a cost of £415m.

Work on the project includes construction of a six-mile link on the M8 in North Lanarkshire, upgrading the A8 Baillieston to Newhouse, completing the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Raith Interchange, as well as widening of key sections of the M8, M73 and M74.

Scotland Transport Minister Keith Brown said the M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project will boost the nation’s economy by improving connections between the commercial centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh and beyond.

"Completing the M74 directly supported 900 construction jobs and we expect this project to be of a similar scale," Brown said.

"Completing the central motorway network will deliver direct economic savings to businesses and individuals through improved transport links and reduced journey times, it will also bring significant benefits from improved road safety, the opportunity to improve accessibility and reduce the number of accidents."

The cost of the project has been increased from the 2007 estimate of £275m to £335m, but Transport Scotland said the new projects are more ambitious. Upgrading the A8 between Baillieston and Newhouse will offer a dual three-lane motorway.

Under the project, connecting roads to the M73 motorway at Baillieston and a new junction at Shawhead will be upgraded, which will connect to the A725 East Kilbride road.

It will include motorway junctions at the Baillieston Interchange, Shawhead Junction (A725), Eurocentral Junction, Chapelhall Junction and Newhouse Junction.

Transport Scotland believes the upgrade will cut commuting time by up to 18 minutes for around 115,000 vehicles for the busiest sections of M8 motorway. Procurement for the project starts from 30th March and it will be part the £2.5bn Scottish Government’s revenue funded programme of NPD projects.

Image: Under the project a six-mile missing link will be added on the M8 in North Lanarkshire. Photo: Dave souza.