By Cara Sulieman
MOTORISTS faced with long tailbacks whilst eight weeks of roadworks hit the M8 will be able to get text message updates on the jams.
But while motoring groups welcome anything that will make road users lives easier, they are warning people not to check the updates whilst they are driving.
Starting tomorrow the motorway will be reduced to two small lanes with a 40mph speed limit.
The bridge itself will also be closed.
The first commuter day of any roadworks is traditionally the worst for congestion, as people haven’t had time to work out alternative routes yet.
So the first message will be sent out on Sunday night telling people which parts of the M8 will be affected.
Colin Mackenzie, unit manager for Amey said: “Motorway maintenance works are very necessary but delays are often unavoidable and we understand that this can cause frustration.
“To help drivers plan their journeys, we always work hard to publicise major roadworks but we regularly find that the first commuter day of any project is the worst for congestion.
“We hope that the additional element of text communication will help improve journey times during these bridge works and we encourage road users to sign up by texting TRAVEL to 84880.”
“First I’ve heard”
And the AA have welcomed the move, saying that anything that will help reduce motorists travel time is a good thing.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “I don’t think this has been used before by a highways agency.
“There are a number of private commercial companies than monitor the roads and provide updates but this is the first I’ve heard of this.
“August is a popular time for roadworks to be carried out because people are on holiday, but this year there might even be more people on the roads because more and more are choosing to holiday in the UK because of the credit crunch.
“We applaud anything that tries to minimise the consequences of roadworks, and offering road users alternative routes and updates to their phone is a unique and interesting way to do this.
“The people of Scotland have paid for their road maintenance many times over in taxes, and this service is the sort of thing they deserve in return.”
However he warned: “We would just urge people not to check the text message updates whilst they were driving.
“They should check before they start their journey, and remember that using their mobile whilst driving is illegal.”
The £1.2m work carried out on the bridge will increase the height by 150mm after a number of high vehicles have crashed into the bridge since it was first built in 1968.
Just last September a lorry being carried on a flatbed trailer smashed into the beams, causing chaos on the motorway.
Andrew Brodie, Senior Engineer at Transport Scotland said: “This is the first major overhaul of Arkleston Bridge in over 40 years and brings it into line with other bridges on the M8.
“This is a major programme of works which will bring long term benefits for road users as we anticipate fewer incidents once the height of the bridge is raised.”