A spectacular aerial video of the new M8 ‘missing link’ currently being constructed as part of the £500m M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project has been released.
The exclusive Transport Scotland drone footage reveals for the first time the advanced progress of a 5km section of the new M8 between Shawhead Junction and Baillieston Interchange, following a site visit by Mr Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Transport and the Islands.
This newly constructed section of the M8 motorway will see three lanes of traffic travelling in each direction when completed, in addition to the two lanes in each direction available on the existing A8. As a result, the traffic travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the new M8 Motorway will be separated from local traffic using the A8.
It is expected this separation of strategic and local traffic will ease current traffic volumes by up to 25 per cent on the new M8 Motorway and shave almost 20 minutes off the daily commute between the two cities at peak times.
Mr Yousaf said: “This drone footage provides the public with a unique perspective of these major construction works that are currently underway to improve the connection between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are largely out of sight to road users on the existing A8.
“The significant progress achieved is clear to see, and as we enter the final phase of works along the A8 corridor, I hope the public can be reassured that once complete, the benefits will far outweigh the current disruption. I’d like to thank road users for their patience to date and would ask that they bear with us during this final push to complete the M8 missing link.”
The footage also shows 5km of new pedestrian and cycle routes which run parallel to the new motorway. This is part of 16km of new and improved routes which are being created to link with existing walking and cycling paths; improving the connections between many of the local communities, businesses and areas of employment in North and South Lanarkshire and Glasgow.
The aerial footage showcases numerous construction milestones which have been completed since the project began in February 2014, including the new, 2,000 tonne Braehead Rail Bridge, which was moved into position in July last year and now carries the Rutherglen to Whifflet railway line over the new M8.
Dario Saavedra, construction manager, described the progress of the new M8 and the challenges his team has faced: “Now in its final phase of construction, road users can begin to visualise the new Shawhead Junction, with the structures carrying the new North Road and widened A725 in their final alignment. Shawhead Junction has been very challenging due to high volumes of traffic on all approaches, but we have worked hard to minimise disruption to the public as much as possible.
“The video shows the greenfield section of works almost complete and people will now be able to picture how the finished M8 motorway will look for the first time.
“The footage also shows how the new M8 will tie into the upgraded Baillieston Interchange, while the existing A8 will connect with the A89 via a newly constructed roundabout at Bargeddie.”
This section of the new M8 is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2017.
Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP), with its main contractors Ferrovial Lagan and Amey, is the company responsible for delivering the £500m investment project in Scotland’s trunk road network for Transport Scotland.
It aims to tackle congestion problems on the A8/M8, M73, M74 and at key junctions, including Raith (M74/A725) and Shawhead (A725/A8).
Gabriel Valtueña-Ramos, SRP general manager, said: “We commissioned this footage to provide the public with a bird’s-eye view of how the project is progressing on the new M8 between Shawhead Junction and Baillieston Interchange.
“As this section nears completion, it’s much easier to visualise the finished road, and as the construction heads into its final stages, road users will continue to see the new benefits as each major milestone is completed.”