Hopes that opening of Raith Underpass will deal with ‘historic’ congestion

Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, with Graeme Reid, project manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project.

Pic: Chris Watt
Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, with Graeme Reid, project manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project. Pic: Chris Watt

A three-year construction programme to improve congestion is almost at an end with the opening of the new Raith Underpass.

The new A725 underpass, which runs below the M74, will open to traffic for the first time in the early hours of tomorrow (Thursday).

Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, said: “The opening of the new underpass at Raith is a major and significant milestone in this massive transport infrastructure project.

“The Scottish Government is investing almost half a billion pounds to improve Central Scotland’s road network. This investment will make a tangible difference to road users, alleviating the traffic congestion that has been a historic problem at Raith.

“The new underpass, and the strategic road network to which it links, will be a considerable benefit to commuters and businesses right across Scotland.”

Fifty years on since the Raith junction first opened to traffic, the new junction includes the creation of a 560m-long, 35 metre wide underpass below the existing roundabout and the M74.

Consisting of more than 1,600 concrete and steel piles of up to 25m in length, the underpass will provide a free-flow link for traffic between the Bellshill Bypass and the East Kilbride Expressway.

Three new bridges have also been constructed to carry the motorway and local traffic over the new underpass, separating the traffic on the A725 from that using the M74.

In addition, two new footbridges have been installed and once complete will create a safe access routes over the busy junction between Bothwell and Strathclyde Country Park.

Graeme Reid, project manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, said: “The creation of the Raith underpass and the surrounding local roads network has been the most technically complex and challenging part of the project.

“Whilst finishing works will be ongoing at Raith following the opening of the underpass, we would like to thank road users for their continued patience as we enter the final stages of construction to tie in the new roads to the existing infrastructure.”