Drivers on one of Scotland’s busiest roads face “unprecedented” disruption when traffic is diverted during major upgrading.
The traffic changes are expected to start next month on the M8 and A8 on the eastern edge of Glasgow as part of constructing a missing section of the M8 on the motorway to Edinburgh.
All traffic using the M8 and A8 dual carriageway through the Baillieston interchange with the M73 will be directed on to other roads for some ten to 12 weeks, according to industry sources.
Vehicles will be diverted north via the A89, skirting a roundabout, and on to a new link road before rejoining the main route.
It is part of a £500 million project to build a new six-mile stretch of the M8 south of the A8, and upgrade the nearby M73 and M74 with extra lanes and improved junctions.
A source said: “All A8 traffic will be diverted onto a new link road to the A89, and then on to the M8 via the existing on/off slip roads.
“The existing carriageway through Baillieston will be completely closed, with no access to or from the M73 for A8 traffic.
“A diversion of this type is unprecedented, with significant disruption likely on the M8 and A8 towards Baillieston.
“The M73 and M74 will also remain restricted throughout due to other roadworks, offering no viable alternative at peak times.
“Road users will be angered to discover the disruption caused by these works is about to get a whole lot worse.”
The IAM RoadSmart motoring group said long-suffering drivers who had endured months of disruption should brace themselves for even more difficult journeys.
Policy and research director Neil Greig said: “Just when the holy grail of a full motorway link between Edinburgh and Glasgow seemed to be within touching distance, drivers are set for one last knock-back.
“Bringing all the new scheme sections together was always going to be a huge engineering challenge and it was inevitable there would be one final period of disruption.
“A diversion of this magnitude will require 24/7 active management of breakdowns, traffic information and fast response to incidents.
“If drivers, emergency services, [information service] Traffic Scotland, contractors and Mother Nature all work together, we can hopefully get through this difficult period with the prospect of much smoother traffic ahead.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which is in charge of the project, said: “The M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project is scheduled to open in the spring.
“To achieve this, a number of route diversions will continue to be needed over the coming weeks and months to connect the newly constructed roads with existing ones. Transport Scotland, together with the key stakeholders, endeavour to minimise disruption to road users.
“The contractor, Scottish Roads Partnership, is continuing to consult stakeholders including Police Scotland, Traffic Scotland and the relevant local authorities to agree the traffic management layouts prior to implementation.”