At a time of austerity, the idea of spending more than half a billion pounds on a five-mile stretch of road might seem strange to some. However the M74 extension in Glasgow which opened at 7pm tonight, cost approximately £657m, which works out at about £131m per mile. This extension consists of five miles of an elevated six-lane highway which will link the current end of the M74 which finishes at Rutherglen (South-East Glasgow) to the M8 at the far side of the Kingston Bridge (South) and will for a short period of time be the second most expensive road per mile in the UK – after Limehouse Link, in London’s Docklands.
For those of us who have lived in Glasgow for many years, the opening of this new part of the M74 has been a very very long time coming. I remember a lot of years ago when my Dad was a local councillor, the link-up of the M74, which at that time finished at Maryville (just past Glasgow Zoo), and the far side of the Kingston Bridge was a hot topic of discussion. However at that time many objections were raised to the extension, particularly due to the proposed route the motorway would take through the city.
Since those days, further discussions have obviously taken place, the motorway’s route through the city has been amended slightly, and the go-ahead has been given. The result is an additional five miles of motorway which will provide an alternative route for traffic travelling north on the M74 to the far side of Glasgow city centre, and vice-versa. It will hopefully lighten the traffic load on many roads in the south-east of Glasgow which previously had no direct route through to the city centre other than the busy M8 motorway. In addition the volume of traffic on the M8 itself through the city centre should also be lightened due to traffic now able to use the alternative M74 motorway.
From a personal perspective, living in the south-east of Glasgow just a few minutes from where the M74 currently ends, we envisage this extension will make many of our journeys to the far side of the city centre, far quicker and less stressful.
We will be trying out the new M74 extension either later tonight or in the next few days. Happy driving!