A new footbridge is put in to place over the M8 motorway
A new bridge has been installed over the M8 motorway in North Lanarkshire after a massive overnight operation.
Scotland's busiest motorway was closed between junctions 4 and 5 from 1900 BST on Friday to 0315 BST so the huge structure could be lifted into place.
The largest crane in Britain was used for the £5m footbridge at Harthill.
It is sited a few metres away from the existing glass panelled footbridge that has joined two service stations for the past 40 years.
The old bridge has become a well-known landmark for the hundreds of thousands of motorists who regularly use the motorway, which runs between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The new bridge is an innovative spiral structure formed from tubular steel.
It has been fabricated off-site and delivered in seven sections where it has been welded together, received its final aluminium silver paint finish and had its fully enclosed glazed walkway put in place ready for the lift.
It had taken 45 vehicles to get the crane on site and it took a week to put it together.
The bridge weighed 230 tonnes and the jib of the crane stretched 90 metres in the air.
Works will continue over the next few weeks to complete all the approach ramps, allowing full disabled access, together with all the associated finishes required to the new bridge.
The crane will also be dismantled during the following week and moved off site.
The new bridge is planned to be in operation towards the end of October.
The existing bridge will then be dismantled, requiring a second closure of the M8.
Raynesway Construction, which is responsible for the design and construction of the footbridge, said it formed an essential element in the upgrading of the new transport hub operating on the site.
Managing director Keith Moorhead said the operation was a "tremendous success".
He said: "We are grateful to those members of the public who may have been inconvenienced by the closure of the M8 for their patience and understanding during this critical operation."
A spokesman for Transport Scotland, the national transport agency which managed and funded the project, said: "The overnight operation to lift this new landmark bridge into place was successful and it was particularly pleasing that the M8 could re-open to traffic earlier than scheduled.
"We now look forward to completing the final works to make the bridge fully accessible for the public and this vital new link for the local community will soon be available and encouraging people to switch from their cars towards using the new Public Transport Interchange at Harthill."
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