M8 summit for motorists

Work will tackled congestion at Shawhead, near Bellshill.
Work will tackled congestion at Shawhead, near Bellshill.

Drivers are getting a chance to see just how they will be affected as work on the M8 expansion near Bellshill is stepped up.

An open meeting for communities and businesses will spell out the impact of the construction works from Baillieston to Newhouse, including the Shawhead junction between Bellshill and Coatbridge.

The informal drop-in will take place at the Hilton Strathclyde Hotel in Strathclyde Business Park, Bellshill, tomorrow (Thursday) from noon to 8pm.

Scottish Roads Partnership, the contractor responsible for the project and also major works on the M74 and M73, is laying on shuttle buses from Bellshill train station to the hotel every hour from 11.30am.

Work began last year and isn’t due to be completed until the spring of 2017. The A8 between Baillieston and Newhouse is being replaced by motorway and the busy Shawhead junction is also being improved.

SRP warns that over the next few months there will be ‘complex traffic management including speed restrictions, average speed safety cameras, temporary lane and road closures and diversions’.

Apart from new and upgraded junctions on the M8 and A8, there will be improvements to the A725 Bellshill bypass and B7070 North Road, the main road into Bellshill from the existing A8 junction.

Gabriel Valtueña-Ramos, general manager for SRP, said: “Our biggest challenge is to keep the high volume of traffic already using these heavily congested routes and junctions moving and to ensure disruption to road users and residents is minimised a far as is practically possible.

“We have planned our works to ensure two lanes will remain operational in each direction during peak times, although traffic management and speed restrictions will be in place.”

SRP says that, when complete, the M8 M73 M74 project will reduce congestion ‘significantly’ across the central Scotland motorway network and cut nearly 20 minutes off the travel time between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Work on the M74 at the Raith junction is equally complex and includes constructing a tunnel to take the A725 under the motorway and away from the busy roundabout.