Journey time cut by 20 minutes
M8 link to open a week ahead of plan
The new section of the M8 is to open to traffic almost a week ahead of schedule.
The so-called missing link of Scotland’s busiest motorway between Newhouse and Baillieston will open westbound on 23 April.
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown said the eastbound section will open a week later on 30 April.
It is the latest stage in the £500 million investment in improving the route as well as the M73 and M74.
Transport Scotland said the work would cut journey times at peak times by around 20 minutes.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the opening will complete the so-called ‘missing link’ between Glasgow and Edinburgh and upgrade the M8 with uninterrupted motorway for the first time in its history.
Mr Brown, who made the announcement of the phased opening of the new M8 which runs from Newhouse to Baillieston during a site visit, said: “The new M8 will be a major milestone in what is a massive transport infrastructure project and I’m pleased to say the phased opening will start five days ahead of schedule.
“We are now close to seeing the culmination of three years of construction works and half a billion pounds worth of investment to improve this vital link between Scotland’s biggest cities.
“This investment will make a tangible difference to our economy, improving business links and connectivity, as well as reducing journey times for road users who rely on this route for part of their daily commutes”
A diversion of the A8/M8 was implemented in mid-February to facilitate construction works to connect the new M8 Motorway into the existing A8/M8 carriageway at Baillieston.
Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland Project Manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, added: “While the full benefits of the new M8 will not be realised until completion of all junctions and project roads, commuters between Edinburgh and Glasgow should experience a vast improvement to their journeys between Newhouse and Baillieston Interchange.
“When the new M8 opens, pressure on the A8 will ease, allowing the contractor to focus on completing the upgrade of the existing A8 and linking it to the new all-purpose road, which is a continuation of the A8 at Eurocentral.
“Local road users should note that whilst access to all routes to and from the A8 will be maintained, signed diversions for traffic to Coatbridge, Airdrie, Bargeddie and Bellshill will be in place until completion of the project.
“I would urge road users to plan their journeys in advance using the Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland websites.”
The improvements, which include a new All Purpose Road between Newhouse and Baillieston separating local and strategic traffic, will increase journey reliability and reduce journey times during peak periods by up to 20 minutes.
The Scottish Government is working with Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP), along with funding from the European Investment Bank and Allianz Global Investors, to deliver this vital infrastructure project linking the key arterial routes in Central Scotland. SRP is a consortium formed by Cintra, Amey, Meridiam and Aberdeen Asset Management.
The M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project is the first of a combined £1.7bn investment in construction being delivered this financial year by Transport Scotland on Scotland’s roads network on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
Further information on the opening of the new M8 and new diversions on the A8 and local junctions can be obtained at http://www.transport.gov.scot/m8opening