Relief for drivers as milestone reached in M74 works

Pressing on with work at the Raith underpass.

Pressing on with work at the Raith underpass.

0
Have your say

A milestone will be reached on the M74 improvement scheme this week with roadworks due to end on one side of the Raith interchange.

Transport Scotland hopes to have the new junction where the East Kilbride expressway meets Bellshill Road, Bothwell, open tomorrow Tuesday.

For the last six weeks drivers bound for Bothwell and Hamilton Park Racecourse have been diverted via the expressway to Blantyre.

With the new junction open, the roads layout for the south side of Raith will be complete. If all goes to plan, traffic will move on to the new Raith roundabout itself by the end of June.

Attention will then focus on the centrepiece of the massive project - the underpass that will allow drivers travelling between Bellshill and East Kilbride to avoid the busy Raith junction entirely.

The work is part of a £500 million scheme which also includes upgrading the A8 to motorway between Newhouse and Baillieston.

Transport Scotland says the project will cut Glasgow-Edinburgh journeys by 20 minutes at busy times while drivers who had to endure delays at the old Raith roundabout can expect to save 15 minutes.

The underpass is not due to be completed until spring next year, but another bonus for drivers will be the end of the contraflow on the M74 at Raith at the end of the summer. Lanes are currently closed to allow work on the new bridge over the roundabout, but this is nearing completion.

The underpass will be 560m long and workmen are excavating to a depth of 10m.

One of the most visible structures at Raith just now is part of a footbridge which will provide much-needed access to Strathclyde Park for pedestrians and cyclists who up until now have had to negotiate busy junctions.

Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland project sponsor, thanked drivers for their patience during 18 months of roadworks, adding: “There are big benefits to come when the scheme is complete.”