M8 motorway (Scotland)

M8 motorway (Scotland)

UK motorway routebox
motorway= M8
length-mi= 60.3
length-km= 97.0
direction= East - West
start= Edinburgh
City Bypass
Erskine Bridge
end= Langbank
opening-date= 1965
junctions= 2 -
euroroute= European route number small sign|05European route number small sign|16

The M8 is the busiest motorway in Scotland. [ [http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transstats/documents/downloadable/dft_transstats_611960.pdf Department for Transport traffic statistics 2005] ] It connects the country's two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and serves other large communities including Livingston, Paisley and the commuter belt towns of North Lanarkshire. The motorway is sixty miles long - excluding a six-mile (10 km) gap between the Glasgow suburb of Baillieston and Newhouse - and is notorious for traffic jams, especially its Central Glasgow section. It was voted the 2nd worst road in the United Kingdom. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6398151.stm BBC News- "Motorists name A12 as worst road"] ]


With the advent of motorway-building beginning in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s, the M8 was planned as one of a core of new motorways, designed to replace the A8 road as a high-capacity alternative for intercity travel. The motorway was constructed piecemeal in several stages bypassing towns, beginning in 1965 with a bypass of Harthill. In 1968 the "Renfrew Bypass" was opened as the A8(M), becoming part of the M8 when the motorway to the west was connected. [ [http://www.pathetic.org.uk/motorways/a8m-renfrew.shtml Pathetic Motorways - A8(M) Renfrew Bypass] ] The Glasgow inner city section was constructed between 1968 and 1972, using a scheme outlined in the Bruce Report, which was published as the Second World War was closing, and which set out a series of initiatives to regenerate the city. Most of the motorway's length was complete by 1980. Since then, the only additions have been a new interchange with the M80 motorway in 1992, and a four-mile (6 km) eastern extension from Newbridge to the then-new Edinburgh City Bypass in 1995. [ [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m8/timeline.shtml M8 motorway construction timeline] , CRBD.co.uk] The Scottish Government plans to complete the one remaining unfinished section between Baillieston and Newhouse in the near future, providing three new motorway junctions to serve Coatbridge, Bargeddie and Holytown amongst others. [ [http://www.m8completion.co.uk M8 Completion] ]


From the Edinburgh City Bypass, the road runs west to junction with the M9 motorway (for the Forth Road Bridge), bypassing to the north of Livingston and south of Bathgate. It continues across Scotland's central Belt before abruptly terminating at Newhouse. The next section begins on the boundary of the City of Glasgow at the M73 motorway junction (the main interchange for all routes south via the M74 motorway) before passing through the districts of Barlanark, Riddrie, Dennistoun and Townhead (following the route of the abandoned Monkland Canal) on the way directly into the city centre. The central section - which technically comprises two sides of an unfinished ring road - contains numerous junctions serving local communities including Cowcaddens, Garnethill, Kelvingrove and Anderston. It then crosses the River Clyde on the Kingston Bridge, runs west through Kinning Park, Bellahouston and Hillington before leaving Glasgow. Continuing west, it bypasses Renfrew and Paisley (carrying traffic directly atop what was the main runway at Renfrew Airport, closed in 1966) before serving Glasgow International Airport, running to the south of Erskine, and terminating at Langbank, around ten miles (16 km) east of Greenock. [ [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m8/exitlist.shtml M8 motorway exit list] , CBRD.co.uk]

The M8 nominally comprises sections of the international E-road network, namely E05 (Langbank-Baillieston) [ [http://www.elbruz.org/eroads/E05.htm E05 route descriptor] , elbruz.com] and E16 (Newhouse-Edinburgh) [ [http://www.elbruz.org/eroads/E16.htm E16 route descriptor] , elbruz.com] , although in reality neither is signposted - no such roads are in the United Kingdom.


The M8, more explicitly its Glaswegian section, is almost unique amongst UK motorways in that it directly serves (and bisects) a large urban area, whereas most other motorways bypass such conurbations. The central Glasgow section is derided for its poor construction and ugly appearance, elevated above much of the surrounding area on a concrete viaduct, including a number of incomplete constructions including several pedestrian overpasses and adjoining arterial roads, and including slip roads that enter and exit in the fast (right-hand) lane. It contains one of the busiest river crossings in Europe at the Kingston Bridge, which has been unable to cope with the large volumes of traffic necessitating almost constant repair work.

Coupled to this has been the lasting legacy of successive failed attempts to build the southern flank of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road as defined by the Bruce Report. This section of road, which is an extension of the M74, would take away long distance traffic from the North and South which is bound for the southern Clyde Coast and allow it to bypass the urban section of the M8. Following many years of intensive political discussion and legal battles, the M74 Completion scheme was finally given the green light in 2006, but it remains one which is bitterly opposed in some quarters, and is not expected to allay chronic congestion on the M8 until its projected completion in 2010.

At present, traffic from the M74, M73 and M80 are all forced onto the eastern section of M8 which within convert|2|mi|km converges from 5 lanes down to just 2 on the Kingston Bridge approaches. The result of this is often long periods of traffic congestion. A number of incentives have been undertaken in an attempt to minimise delays on this section; these include restricting exits around the Kingston Bridge, a ramp metering programme, and expanded use of electronic signing above and beside the motorway as part of the CITRAC ("Centrally Integrated TRAffic Control") system. [ [http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/GettingAround/Traffic/CITRAC/ Living in Glasgow - CITRAC] ] [ [http://www.trafficscotland.org/vmsList.asp?type=7 VMS (Variable Message Sign) list from Traffic Scotland] ]

;2008. Under New ManagementThe control and management of the entire M8 is now under the umbrella of Traffic Scotland. This organisation is part of Transport Scotland which is in itself part of the Scottish Government. CITRAC no longer exists as a unit but has been split into two separate entities. Control of the traffic signal system in the Glasgow conurbation is by TrafCom (run wholly by Glasgow City Council).The Motorway and Trunk roads network is now controlled from a temporary, stand alone, centre on Broomielaw. This is staffed by Atkins PLC who won the contract for the operation after Glasgow City Council declined to bid when the contract came up for renewal in 2006. Staff from Glasgow City Council were transferred under TUPE conditions to ensure a continuing expertise in the management of the system.

Up to the minute traffic information is broadcast from the control room by Traffic Link. These broadcasts are taken by most of the local and national radio stations. Any stations which don't use the live broadcast, invariably obtain information from the REGIS information system or from the Traffic Scotland website. [http://www.trafficscotland.org]

Traffic Scotland are at present preparing contracts for a purpose built Traffic Control Centre, the location of which is yet to be decided. This centre wil be a state of the art control centre with command and control systems which will allow communication with contractors and the Roads Operating companies who are responsible for maintenance on the carriageway. Roadside telephones will be answered from the centre and breakdown services will be dispatched to aid stranded motorists. The centre is expected to be up and running within 5 years.


ee also

*List of motorways in the United Kingdom


External links

** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m8/ Motorway Database - M8]
** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/media/video/glasgow.shtml Videos - M8]
* [http://www.pathetic.org.uk/motorways/a8m-renfrew.shtml Pathetic Motorways - A8(M) Renfrew Bypass]
*The Motorway Archive - M8
** [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m8glasedineast.htm Eastern Scotland Section]
** [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m8glasedin.htm Western Scotland Section]

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