Demolition job on bridge to two homes means chaos

New bridge, right, has had to be completed before old structure can be removed.
New bridge, right, has had to be completed before old structure can be removed.

A busy stretch of the M74 will be closed for an entire weekend to allow demolition of a bridge which serves as an access to just two homes.

The structure at Bothwellpark Road, Bothwell, is being replaced as part of the major motorways improvement programme that’s ongoing.

Project bosses had considered removing the bridge using explosives, but have opted for a less spectacular ‘mechanical demolition’.

To allow the work to be carried out the three-mile motorway stretch between junctions 4 and 5, Maryville and Raith, will be closed from 8pm on Friday, November 18, to 6am on Monday, November 21.

Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland project manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, admitted: “This is the most significant road closure we have implemented yet and we are anticipating major delays on all approaches, the surrounding roads and the main diversion route.

“We are advising road users to plan their journey, avoid the area and surrounding local roads, and to use alternative modes of transport for the weekend if possible.

“On a typical weekend we can expect to see as many as 140,000 vehicles using this main arterial route, and we fully appreciate the disruption this will cause.”

A replacement bridge just a few feet away will be ready before the old one is demolished in order to maintain access to Bothwellpark House and an adjacent house.

A neighbouring resident said: “Motorists caught up in the chaos that weekend might be surprised to hear that all this disruption is for a road bridge that serves only two houses.

“However, the project team have no choice as there is no other way in to those properties. Beyond the houses Bothwellpark Road becomes a farm track which runs up to the Old Mine Nature Park in Fallside. Pedestrians also use the bridge to walk between Fallside and Bothwell.”

The bridge had to be replaced because its legs would prevent widening of the motorway. Given its height - around 35 feet - a controlled explosion was a serious option, but bosses eventually settled on mechanical demolition as the safest and most efficient way.

Mr Reid urged drivers to leave their cars at home if possible that weekend. Scotrail will have extra capacity to cope with an expected increased number of train passengers.

Meanwhile, drivers have also been warned to expect delays, limited motorway access and diversions at Raith interchange this coming weekend and over the weekend of November 12-13. This is to allow the new pedestrian footbridge to Strathclyde Park to be completed and work on approach roads to take place.