First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has officially opened the £500 million M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project, saving motorists up to 20 minutes on journey times. The project, including the new seven mile stretch of the M8 motorway, aims to tackle congestion problems in central Scotland and is the first part of a combined £1,700 million SNP Government investment in the roads network. New analysis by Transport Scotland shows journey times are significantly improved, with vehicles now travelling along the M8 at an average speed of almost 70mph, even during the busiest periods. The journey time savings have been assessed as contributing more than £1,000 million to Scotland’s economy by improving the connectivity. Improved road safety through the reduction of traffic on local roads, is set to result in a predicted reduction of more than 100 accidents per year, and accident savings of more than £118 million over a 30 year period. Speaking at the Maxim Business Park at Eurocentral, the First Minister said: “This new length of motorway has completed the M8 link between Glasgow and Edinburgh and Scotland’s previously most congested junction. “The M8 is a vital link in the central belt and this newly completed section will help connect people to business, leisure and education opportunities and also creates a better environment for companies to do business. “Businesses are already reporting a journey time saving of up to 20 minutes travel between Scotland’s biggest cities and a similar saving for those using Raith junction. These improvements and additional road capacity will ensure our economy has room to grow. “With the completion of this project, and three others others - the Queensferry crossing, the first section of the A9 dualling and the Aberdeen bypass - by next spring, more than 250km of new roads will have been completed in the last 10 years, representing a total investment in construction of £2,810 million." During construction, the project provided training and employment to more than 8,000 workers, who contributed more than 6.5 million hours of work to deliver these improvements. It also project provided a minimum of 30 graduate and apprenticeship positions during the three year construction period, with a further 20 construction jobs each year aimed at the long-term unemployed. The project is also expected to provide sustainable long-term employment opportunities for approximately 60 full-time staff during the operation and maintenance of these routes over a 30 year period.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Connectivity between Scotland's two biggest cities is hugely important for all of Scotland. As someone who travels regularly between North Ayrshire and Edinburgh, I warmly welcome the completion of this major infrastructure project. “These improvements will have a huge, lasting impact for travel across Scotland and beyond and I look forward to completion of the much smaller scale but vitally important Dalry Bypass and Den Realignment."
Work on the project started in February 2014 and all roads on the M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project were opened to traffic in Spring 2017 as planned. Project numbers:
6.5 million man hours worked
8,000+ people worked on site at various stages over the three years
418,000 trees & shrubs being planted as part of the project
95% of on-site waste recycled
16km of combined foot/cycle-ways built or upgraded
43 new structures including 15 new road bridges and 2 railway bridges
25km carriageway upgraded/built during construction
2 new road pavement laid
3,500,000m3 of cut
2,500,000m3 of fill
Further infrastructure projects set to complete this year include the Queensferry Crossing, AWPR & Balmedie to Tipperty and A9 Dualling Kincraig to Dalraddy. This project marks the start of a year of infrastructure delivery across Scotland. By spring 2018, the total length of new and upgraded roads delivered in Scotland over a twelve month period will be 175km, including more than 61km of motorway and 75km of dual-carriageway. In addition, more than 54km of cycle routes and footpaths will have been completed.