A phased opening of the new M8 is to begin on April 23, five days ahead of schedule, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, announced today.
The landmark opening will complete the so-called â€˜missing linkâ€™ between Glasgow and Edinburgh and upgrade the M8 with uninterrupted motorway for the first time in its history.
The westbound carriageway of the new M8 will open to traffic on Sunday 23 April, followed by the eastbound carriageway on Sunday 30 April.
Mr Brown, who made the announcement of the phased opening of the new M8 which runs from Newhouse to Baillieston during a site visit, said: â€œThe new M8 will be a major milestone in what is a massive transport infrastructure project and Iâ€™m pleased to say the phased opening will start five days ahead of schedule.
â€œWe are now close to seeing the culmination of three years of construction works and half a billion pounds worth of investment to improve this vital link between Scotlandâ€™s biggest cities.
â€œThis 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 commutesâ€
A diversion of the A8/M8 was implemented in mid-February to facilitate construction works to connect the new M8 Motorway into the existing A8/M8 carriageway at Baillieston.
These works are nearing completion allowing todayâ€™s announcement, which is a milestone for the Â£500m M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project.
Motorists are advised traffic management, including signed diversions and temporary speed restrictions, will remain in place along the A8/M8 corridor to allow completion of several junctions, including Shawhead and Eurocentral.
Graeme Reid, Transport Scotland project manager for the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, added: â€œWhile 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.
â€œWhen 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.
â€œLocal road users should note that whilst access to all routes to and from the A8 will be maintained, signed diversions for traffic to Coatbridge, Airdrie, Bargeddie and Bellshill will be in place until completion of the project.
â€œI would urge road users to plan their journeys in advance using the Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland websites.â€
The improvements, which include a new All Purpose Road between Newhouse and Baillieston separating local and strategic traffic, will increase journey reliability and reduce journey times during peak periods by up to 20 minutes.
The Scottish Government is working with Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP), along with funding from the European Investment Bank and Allianz Global Investors, to deliver this vital infrastructure project linking the key arterial routes in Central Scotland.
SRP is a consortium formed by Cintra, Amey, Meridiam and Aberdeen Asset Management.