Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened the £500m M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project, which the Scottish Government says is saving motorists up to 20 minutes on journey times.
The project, including the new seven-mile stretch of the M8 motorway, aims to tackle congestion problems in central Scotland. All roads under the project were opened to traffic in the spring, albeit with some finishing and snagging works due to be completed next month.
Transport Scotland said its analysis shows that journey times are significantly improved, with vehicles now travelling along the M8 at an average speed of almost 70mph, even during the busiest periods.
It said improved road safety through the reduction of traffic on local roads is set to result in a predicted cut of more than 100 accidents per year, and accident savings of more than £118m over a 30-year period.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘The M8 is a vital link in the central belt and this newly completed section will help connect people to business, leisure and education opportunities and also creates a better environment for companies to do business.
‘Businesses are already reporting a journey time saving of up to 20 minutes travel between Scotland’s biggest cities and a similar saving for those using Raith junction. These improvements and additional road capacity will ensure our economy has room to grow.
‘With the completion of this project, and three others others – the Queensferry Crossing, the first section of the A9 dualling and the Aberdeen bypass – by next spring, more than 250km of new roads will have been completed in the last 10 years – representing a total investment in construction of £2.81bn.’
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘Congratulations to Transport Scotland and its partners for delivering such an extensive project which will have a huge, lasting impact for travel across the country and beyond.’