The M8 motorway is one of the most important roads in Scotland. Running to around sixty miles in length the route connects Glasgow with Edinburgh via Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and West Lothian. Stretches of the route are used by up to 180,000 vehicles per day making it one of the busiest motorways in Europe.
Glasgow's Motorways focuses on the part of the route that was contained within the boundaries of the former Strathclyde Regional Council area - that is roughly from Harthill Services near Junction 5 to Junction 31 near Bishopton. Construction on the M8 within this area began in the early 1960s and will be completed by late 2017.
The M74 is one the most important routes in Scotland, providing a direct link between England and Glasgow. It carries several thousand vehicles every day.
Construction of the first section of M74 began in 1963 with the commencement of works on the Larkhall-Hamilton-Uddingston Bypass. This 12 mile stretch of road greatly improved links between the border and the central belt and led to calls for further upgrades. By 1999 the motorway stretched all the way to Gretna. To the north, extensions of the motorway beyond its initial Maryville terminus were incorporated into the Glasgow Highway Plan and the Greater Glasgow Transportation Study. These plans envisaged the M74 as part of a second motorway across the city.
The M77 begins on the M8 at Plantation and terminates near Fenwick in Ayrshire. It is a two lane motorway and provides a link to the dual carrigeway A77 to the south. It is a particualrly busy commuter route at peak times.
The first section of M77 completed was the Dumbreck Road connection which opened in 1981. This was followed by an extension to Newton Mearns in December 1996. A further extension to Fenwick was opened in 2005 replacing a single carrigeway section which had a very poor safety record. In the Highway Plan the route was known as the Ayr Motorway.
The M898 is one of the shortest motorways in the UK, it is also the highest numbered. Contrary to popular belief it opened in advance of the Erskine Bridge as part of the Bishopton Bypass Stage 1 and Bridge South Approach Roads scheme at the end of December 1970. It begins at Junction 30 of the M8 and ends only one mile later at an interchange with the A726. From here it continues as the A898 crossing the River Clyde via the Erskine Bridge before joining the A82 north of the river.
Being the westernmost road crossing of the River Clyde it is also well used by long distance and tourist traffic travelling to and from Glasgow Airport, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the Scottish Highlands.
The M73 is a relatively short motorway with a length of only seven miles. It serves as an eastern bypass of Glasgow and allows long distance traffic from the M74 to travel to central Scotland and beyond. The route has interchanges with three of Scotland's most important motorways, the M74, M8 and the M80, and was built as a high quality replacement for the A73, which until this time was the main route for traffic from the south travelling to central and northern Scotland.
While many of the routes covered on Glasgow’s Motorways are very urban in nature, the M73 has more in common with a rural long distance motorway and features only four junctions. The route is a mixture of dual two and three lane motorway with hard shoulders in both directions.
The M80 Motorway is a crucial piece of the Central Scotland motorway system. It connects Glasgow and the west of Scotland with Stirlingshire, Falkirk and the Grangemouth industrial areas. The route begins at Provan on the M8 at Junction 13. Now running to 25 miles in length, the road has a fragmented construction history which has spanned four decades.
The M80 carries traffic northwards out of Glasgow bypassing the communities of Robroyston, Stepps, Bishopbriggs & Moodiesburn. Further north the route passes close to Cumbernauld and is joined by the M73 and the older A80 dual carriageway. It serves its role as a strategic national route for traffic heading to the north of Scotland from Glasgow and England.