M8 motorway (Scotland): Wikis


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M8 motorway
UK motorway M8.PNG

Road of the United Kingdom

Length 60.3 miles (97 km)
Direction East - West
Start Edinburgh
City Bypass
55°55′28″N 3°18′46″W / 55.9244°N 3.3128°W / 55.9244; -3.3128 (M8 motorway (eastern end))
Primary destinations Glasgow
Erskine Bridge
End Langbank
55°55′24″N 4°33′01″W / 55.9234°N 4.5504°W / 55.9234; -4.5504 (M8 motorway (western end))
Construction dates 1965 - 1995
Motorways joined Junction 2.svg UK-Motorway-M9.svg
J2 → M9 motorway
Junction 8.svg UK-Motorway-M73.svg
J8 → M73 motorway
Junction 13.svg UK-Motorway-M80.svg
J13 → M80 motorway
Junction 22.svg UK-Motorway-M77.svg
J22 → M77 motorway
Junction 30.svg UK-Motorway-M898.svg
J30 → M898 motorway
Kingston Bridge
M8 running alongside the Clyde
This Stub in the Tradeston area, popularly known as the "ski-ramp", is the abandoned interchange for the southern flank of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road

The M8 is the busiest motorway in Scotland.[1] 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 60 miles (97 km) long - excluding a 6-mile (9.7 km) gap between the Glasgow suburb of Baillieston and Newhouse - and is notorious for traffic jams, especially its Central Glasgow section.



With the advent of motorway-building 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 the opening by Minister of State for Scotland George Willis of the 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.[2] 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 4-mile (6.4 km) eastern extension from Newbridge to the then-new Edinburgh City Bypass in 1995.[3] 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.[4]


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 10 miles (16 km) east of Greenock.[5]

The M8 nominally comprises sections of the international E-road network, namely E05 (Langbank-Baillieston)[6] and E16 (Newhouse-Edinburgh),[7] although in reality neither is signposted - no such roads are in the United Kingdom.


The M8, more explicitly the Glasgow section, is 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[citation needed], 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[citation needed] with the large volumes of traffic necessitating almost constant repair work.[citation needed]

There were 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 go ahead in 2006, but it remains one which is bitterly opposed in some quarters. It is expected to relieve the congestion on the M8 after its projected completion in 2011.

At present, traffic from the M74, M73 and M80 is forced onto the eastern section of M8 which within 2 miles (3.2 km) converges from five lanes to two 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.[8][9]

Some segments contain potholes and other deformities such as cracks between lanes and warped or broken asphalt. These segments are concentrated in the Glasgow urban area.

In 2007 it was decided by Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government that a new motorway junction should be built at the Heartlands Development Site in Whitburn, where top of the range golf courses and state of the art hotels and houses are to be built. The roads in the Whitburn area in the west end of the town have been changed in 2008 for this new motorway junction and all remains now is for the road to be joined onto the M8 Motorway. Junction 4 at East Whitburn will be renamed J4 East Whitburn and the new junction at Whitburn will be known as J4a Whitburn Heartlands.

2008 - new management

The 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.[10]

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 will 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.


M8 Motorway
Eastbound exits Junction Westbound exits
M8 now terminates
Edinburgh City Bypass A720
Edinburgh City Centre A71
J1 Start of motorway
Edinburgh City Bypass A720
Berwick upon Tweed (A1)
Edinburgh Airport, Stirling, Forth Road Bridge (A90) M9 J2 Stirling, Forth Road Bridge (A90) M9
Livingston A899 J3 Livingston A899
Bathgate, Broxburn, Livingston (West) (A779) A89 J3a Bathgate, Broxburn, Livingston (West) (A89) A779
Bathgate, Whitburn, Falkirk A801 J4 Bathgate, Whitburn, Falkirk A801
Harthill services
Shotts, Harthill (B7066) B7057 J5 Shotts, Harthill (B7066) B7057
Start of motorway J6 Airdrie, Lanark, Motherwell, Wishaw (A723) A73
Airdrie, Lanark, Motherwell, Wishaw (A723) A73
Non-motorway traffic
Road continues as A8 towards Glasgow and Carlisle M74
Road continues as A8 towards Livingston and Edinburgh J8 Carlisle, Coatbridge (M74, A89) M73
Glasgow A8
Non-motorway traffic
Carlisle, Coatbridge (M74, A89) M73
Glasgow A8
Start of motorway
Baillieston J9 No access
Easterhouse, Barlanark J10 Easterhouse, Baillieston
Garthamlock, Queenslie B765 J11 Stepps, Queenslie B765
Riddrie, Stepps A80 J12 Riddrie, Stepps A80
Stirling, Kincardine Bridge M80 J13 Blochairn, Parkhead
Blochairn, Dennistoun B763 J14 No access
Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Cross, Kirkintilloch A803 J15 Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Cross A803
No access J16 Aberfoyle, George Square (A81)
Dumbarton A82 J17 Dumbarton A82
Anderston, Charing Cross (No exit from main carraigeway)
Glasgow city centre
J18 Kelvingrove, Charing Cross
Clydebank, S.E.C.C. A814
No exit from main carriageway
J19 Clydebank, S.E.C.C. A814
No access J20 Tradeston, East Kilbride (A730)
Tradeston, East Kilbride (A8, A730) J21 No access
No access J22 Kilmarnock, Prestwick Airport M77
No access J23 Govan, Ibrox B768
Govan, Kilmarnock (M77) A761 J24 Paisley, Bellahouston A761
Clyde Tunnel A739 J25 Clyde Tunnel A739
No access J25a Braehead
Hillington, Braehead A736 J26 Hillington, Renfrew (A8) A736
Paisley, Renfrew A741 J27 Paisley, Renfrew A741
No access J28 Glasgow Airport
No access J28a Irvine A737
Glasgow Airport, Irvine, Paisley A737, A726 J29 Paisley A726
Erskine, Erskine Bridge M898 J30 Erskine, Erskine Bridge M898
Start of motorway J31 Bishopton A8
Bishopton A8
Non-motorway traffic
Road becomes A8 towards Greenock

See also


External links

Coordinates: 55°50′45″N 3°52′30″W / 55.8458°N 3.8751°W / 55.8458; -3.8751 (M2 motorway)



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