TRANSPORT Scotland today announced plans to complete the nation’s motorway network at a cost of £415m.
The massive project combines plans to upgrade the A8 Baillieston to Newhouse, completing the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as work to improve Raith Interchange and the widening of key sections of the M8, M73 and M74.
The project is of a similar scale to the recent M74 Completion which directly supported 900 construction jobs and is expected to shave up to 18 minutes off the journey time for around 115,000 vehicles for the busiest sections of the M8 per day.
Procurement for the project, the first roads infrastructure project to be procured as part of the £2.5bn Scottish Government’s revenue funded programme of NPD projects, starts on 30 March with the publication of the OJEU notice.
Transport Minister Keith Brown, who addressed delegates at the Industry Day, said: “Since 2007 this Government has taken forward the largest investment ever in the country’s transport infrastructure with a number of vital projects being completed on or ahead of time and on or under budget.
“This has included the successful delivery of the M80 Stepps to Haggs, the M74 Completion, the Clackmannanshire Bridge, the A96 Fochabers and Mosstodloch Bypass and the Airdrie-Bathgate rail link to name just a few.
“Today we move a step closer to completing the central Scotland motorway network. On completion the M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project will boost the nation’s economy by improving connections between the commercial centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh and beyond.”
He added: “The Scottish Government’s spending on infrastructure projects is a key driver in boosting the country’s economy. In these difficult economic times providing hundreds of jobs in the hard-pressed construction industry plays a key part in delivering our vision of a wealthier, fairer and better connected Scotland.”
The latest stage in the project has been widely welcomed by business and industry groups.
Iain McMillan, of the CBI Scotland, said: “The completion of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh has been a long-standing priority for our members.
“Improved connectivity is essential for the success of Scotland’s economy and the upgrading of this stretch of motorway is crucial to that success.
“The Scottish Government is to be commended for delivering on this long-desired and much needed infrastructure project.”
Chris MacRae, Head of Policy for Scotland, Freight Transport Association, said: “Upgrading the main motorway connecting Scotland’s two most important cities is essential to the efficiency and internal connectivity of Scotland’s supply chain.”
And Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Enhancing Scotland’s transport connectivity is essential in order to ensure our economy’s future competitiveness.
“That is why Scottish Chambers of Commerce welcome the investment being made to upgrade the M8’s missing link – the A8 between Baillieston and Newhouse – alongside other essential improvements to the central Scotland motorway network.
“This is a well used piece of our road transport network and the flow of traffic here is crucial not just for the west of Scotland but also for connections to the north, east and south”