19 February 2009

M74 project nears completion

Work to extend the M74 in Glasgow moved a step closer to completion today as the foundations were laid for its link up with the M8.

The project - the largest infrastructure scheme currently on the ground in Scotland - is a key part of the Scottish Government's current £2.5 billion programme of investment in transport infrastructure over the next three years.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said that, in addition to providing hundreds of jobs for the construction industry, completing the M74 from Carmyle to the Kingston Bridge and the M8 will return significant benefits to Scotland and its businesses by offering a quicker, safer and more efficient routes to get their goods to market, reducing congestion in and around Scotland's largest city, and capturing the long term economic benefits that the Commonwealth Games will bring in 2014.

The Transport Minister, who was speaking at the site of the M74/M8 Westbound viaduct, where the erection of the piers of the junction is now underway, said:

"Today marks the beginning of a significant phase of construction of the M74 Completion project - a symbolic moment when two of Scotland's major motorways are brought together.

"While our investment in transport infrastructure will be crucial in the sustainable growth of Scotland's economy for years to come, it is also bringing jobs to the hard-pressed construction industry now. Transport Scotland's work alone supports over 25 per cent of the civil engineering contracting sector's workload in Scotland.

"At its peak this project will support around 900 jobs - many of them young trainee professionals who will gain valuable experience in their respective professional trades. Experience which they can carry forward beyond this project and into other projects across Scotland. Through this and other major infrastructure projects in Scotland we are providing our most valuable asset - our people - with a firm footing for the future, and Scotland with sustainable economic growth."

Chair of South Lanarkshire Council's Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor Chris Thompson, said:

"We are delighted at the progress being made by the M74 completion project. People will now be able to see the road beginning to take shape and realise, when complete, the positive impact it will have on journey times throughout the west of Scotland. The project is also providing hundreds of specialist construction jobs, something which is very welcome in the current economic climate."

David Welsh, Interlink M74 Joint Venture Project Director, added:

"We have made significant progress on site since being awarded the M74 Completion project in March last year. A number of new recruits, many from the local area, have joined the Joint Venture team bringing additional skills and experience. We have developed strong relationships with our client and are working closely with them to ensure the project is successfully delivered."

The M74 Completion, which will continue the M74 motorway from Fullarton Road Junction, near Carmyle, to the M8 motorway west of the Kingston Bridge, is anticipated to open in 2011, completing the missing link between the two motorways.

The project is a partnership between the Transport Scotland, the principal funder, and Glasgow City, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Councils.

The contractor is Interlink M74 JV, a joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est, Morrison Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine, four of the UK's major civil engineering contractors.

It is anticipated that the road will open in 2011 costing just under £445 million plus an allowance of approximately £12 million for possible treatment of mine workings along the route.

Recent Transport Scotland investment across road and rail - either in longer term maintenance or specific infrastructure construction - has supported nearly 13,000 jobs

Over £2.5 billion will be invested in Scotland's strategic transport networks over the three years, supporting the economy through the efficient movement of goods and people

This programme includes a new railway between Airdrie and Bathgate linking Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Borders railway, and support for the delivery of the Edinburgh Tram Project. Additionally we are investing the Glasgow Airport Rail Link, the M8 between Newhouse and Baillieston and upgrading the A80 to motorway between Stepps and Haggs - all to be completed in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games

A freephone helpline will be available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 0800 328 1697 for members of the public who have any queries in relation to the M74 Completion works.

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