More road pain – but the end is in sight

North Road will close to allow work on new bridge at  Shawhead.
North Road will close to allow work on new bridge at Shawhead.

Hard-pressed Bellshill drivers are facing more pain as a main route into the town is to close for six weeks.

It’s to allow the final stage of work on a new bridge connecting Bellshill with Coatbridge via the revamped Shawhead interchange.

For the past eight months motorists have been unable to travel directly to Shawhead and the A8 from North Road, Bellshill. A temporary road allows drivers heading for Bellshill to use North Road, but this is to shut, meaning traffic must remain on the A725 and reach Bellshill via Bellziehill roundabout.

North Lanarkshire Council had said the closure period would start tomorrow (Thursday), but now says it won’t take effect until Monday, September 19.

Shawhead is being upgraded as part of the M8 M73 M74 Motorways Improvement Project.

Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland’s project sponsor, said: “By the end of October, road users will benefit from the improved connections to the A8 and A725 as the new North Road Bridge opens, providing a direct link to the upgraded Shawhead junction. We appreciate the patience of the local community and road users alike.”

Drivers are being warned to expect delays over the next six weeks. A free shuttle bus has operated since January to take passengers to and from Coatbridge because the 201 service has been re-routed, and this will continue.

Bellshill councillor Harry Curran expects the town to be busier than ever when the latest road closure takes effect. He said: “It’s difficult enough just now with traffic building up from mid-afternoon between the Bellziehill and Bellshill Academy roundabouts.

“With more traffic using Bellziehill it will be a major problem.

“I think drivers have been trying to dodge the area, but there seems no escape as there’s so much work going on.

“This M8 improvement work really should have been done 25 years ago but it was put back and back.

“Now we’re paying the price which is gridlock in Bellshill. However, with the North Road Bridge completion only six weeks away, there is at last some light at the end of the tunnel and I’m looking forward to seeing the new link.”