Free shuttle bus to ease Bellshill road closure pain

North Road will be closed at the end of this month.
North Road will be closed at the end of this month.

A free bus shuttle service is being laid on between Bellshill and Coatbridge to help passengers affected by an eight-month road closure.

North Road will be shut to allow a bridge to be built as part of the M8 motorway upgrading at Shawhead.

Although a temporary road will let some traffic through, a weight restriction means this can’t be used by standard size buses.

That has prompted anger from First Glasgow which warned that its 201 service won’t be able to serve Bellshill’s Hattonrigg area.

The company said it had been led to believe buses would be allowed on the temporary road.

This week Transport Scotland revealed the road project contractor will provide a minibus shuttle service between Hattonrigg and Whifflet Street, Coatbridge, from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week.

First Glasgow had asked North Lanarkshire Council to use “any influence it has” to try to have the temporary road made suitable for standard buses.

However, the council said the road closure arrangments are down to Government agency Transport Scotland and it had to fight to have any sort of temporary road installed.

A spokesman said: “The construction of the temporary road was agreed by Transport Scotland and its contractors only after intervention by this council.

“Under the original plans, North Road would have been closed for up to nine months with no access to or from Shawhead.

“We also requested that the road be built in compliance with the Construction and Use Regulations, but due to constraints with the site this has not been possible and there has to be a 7.5 tonne weight restriction.

“The council has negotiated the best possible solution in the circumstances.”

North Road will be closed from January 25 with diversions via the A725 and Bellziehill roundabout.

Meanwhile, Bellshill councillor Marina Lyle is seeking talks with bus chiefs over the threatened loss of the 201 during the road closure period.

She said: “I use that service myself and know many people depend on it to go to Monklands Hospital. I’m sure passengers would be happier with an altered timetable than no service at all.”