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17 February 2017, 07:22
Drivers are being warned to expect "significant" disruption from tonight on the M8 at Baillieston.
As part of the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, both east and westbound traffic on the M8/A8 will be diverted via the newly aligned A8 near Bargeddie from 8pm on Friday 17th February 2017, for approximately ten weeks.
Transport bosses say the diversion is necessary to connect the newly built M8 to the existing motorway at Baillieston Interchange.
Whilst access to all routes will be maintained, Transport Scotland is warning motorist to expect significant delays on the M8/A8 corridor, the M73 and surrounding local roads as a temporary diversion comes into effect on approach to Baillieston Interchange.
These major works will involve removing 13,000m² of existing carriageway and 40,000m³ of earth to connect the new M8 to the existing M8 which is approximately 5m higher.
Following the excavation, 1,500m of drainage and 12,000 tonnes of blacktop will then be laid to complete the M8 'Missing Link' and allow the new M8 between Baillieston Interchange and Eurocentral to open to traffic for the first time.
Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland Project Manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, said: "The M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project is a very significant investment in the Central Scotland motorway network which will greatly reduce congestion and boost the economy.
"These scheduled works are a major milestone of the £500m investment in the main route between Scotland's two largest cities, which will see the completion of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
"Whilst delays are inevitable on a project of this scale and complexity, and the impact this has on the travelling public is regrettable, these works are necessary to complete the M8 Missing Link, and road users can look forward to realising the benefits of the new motorway when it fully opens to traffic upon completion of these works in Spring 2017.
The new M8 motorway includes 5km of new carriageway, east and westbound, which has already been built to the south of the existing A8, between Baillieston Interchange and the North Calder Water Bridge near Shawhead Junction.
When the new M8 is opened to traffic, the existing and improved A8 will be used by local traffic, separating local journeys from the strategic Glasgow and Edinburgh traffic.
As a result, it is expected this will ease current traffic volumes by up to 25 per cent on the motorway and will improve journey times during peak periods by shaving almost 20 minutes through the M8 corridor.
The improvements also include 5km of new pedestrian and cycle paths which run parallel to the new M8 motorway, which are part of 16km of new cycle paths being built between Baillieston and Newhouse.
During the 10 week diversion, two lanes of traffic will be maintained during peak times and signed diversion routes will be in place on all approaches to Baillieston Interchange including the A8, M8, M73, and the surrounding local roads.
Transport Scotland is warning road users to expect major delays on all surrounding routes as a result of the M8/A8 diversion.
Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland Project Manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, added: "This is the most significant peak time traffic management we have implemented as part of the works, and we are anticipating major delays on all approaches to Baillieston Interchange and the surrounding roads.
"These works are a necessary part of completing this project and we are working with the contractor and key stakeholders including Police Scotland and the local authorities to minimise disruption and to complete the connection of the carriageways at the earliest opportunity."
Chief Inspector Craig Linton from Police Scotland added: "In respect of this major piece of works, I would urge drivers to take heed of the diversionary routes which will be signposted.
"A significant amount of planning has taken place with our partners in Transport Scotland to help minimise the disruption to commuters for the duration of the works. We will ensure the diversionary routes are adequately patrolled. Road safety is a high priority for Police Scotland.
"I would remind motorists of the reduced speed limits which are still in place which are necessary to ensure that drivers are able to cope safely with the inevitable effects of the road works such as narrowed lanes, changing lanes, contra-flow and construction traffic. As an additional safety measure highly visible average speed cameras will cover the area of the works to encourage motorists to respect the reduced speed limit.
"Please be aware that diversions are likely to be busier than normal due to the works, and I would ask people to plan ahead, build in more time for your journey if necessary and drive appropriately for the conditions.
"We are advising road users to plan their journey, avoid the Baillieston Interchange and surrounding local roads if possible, and to use alternative modes of transport."
In a bid to reduce local traffic congestion, North Lanarkshire Council has promoted a temporary road closure on a short section of the A89 Coatbridge Road (westbound), between Langmuir Road and the new Bargeddie Roundabout, for the duration of the diversion.
In addition, a temporary roundabout will be in place on the A752 Aitkenhead Road on approach to the A8 Bargeddie Junction, westbound on and off slip roads.
All traffic flows will be monitored at key locations throughout the diversion routes.