Missing link to be completed ahead of schedule

Engineers clear cones from the M8 "Missing Link" as it is set to open ahead of schedule. Pic: SWNSEngineers clear cones from the M8 "Missing Link" as it is set to open ahead of schedule. Pic: SWNS
Engineers clear cones from the M8 "Missing Link" as it is set to open ahead of schedule. Pic: SWNS
A new section of one of Scotland's busiest motorways is to open to traffic nearly a week ahead of schedule.

The so-called ‘missing link’ of the M8, which runs between the country’s two largest cities, is set to open up on Sunday, April 23.

The new seven mile stretch of road will run between Newhouse and the Baillieston area of Glasgow on the drive from Edinburgh.

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A diversion had been in place since the middle of February to allow construction workers to reach the new M8 motorway with the existing A8 and M8 carriageway.

This section of road is just one step in the ongoing £500m motorway improvements project.

Transport Scotland say that journey times could be cut by around 20 minutes at peak travel times.

Graeme Reid, project manager for Transport Scotland, said that commuters should experience an improvement in their journeys.

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He said: “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.”

Keith Brown, the Scottish cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said the section will improve business links and connectivity.

He added: “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.

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“We are now close to seeing the culmination of three years of construction works and a 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 commute.”

Works carried out on the existing motorway at Baillieston to connect it to the M8 involved a removal of 13,000 square metres of existing carriageway and 40,000 square metres of earth.

And around 12,000 tonnes of blacktop has been laid for the final road surface.