Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:32 UK

Work starts on motorway extension

m74 map
The extension will connect the M74 to the M8

Work has officially started on the controversial M74 extension through south Glasgow and South Lanarkshire.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the 445m project was performed by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The five-mile extension, which is expected to open in 2011, is designed to connect the M74 to the M8, west of the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow.

Environmental campaigners abandoned their legal battle to block the project in 2006.

Mr Salmond said completion of the extension would see a "vital piece of infrastructure" in place to help the Scottish economy.

"Better access for customers and suppliers will benefit thousands of businesses in the surrounding areas," he said.

"Shorter journey times on local roads will help communities as well as business and will greatly help the preparation and hosting of Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Whilst the Scottish Government acknowledges the urgent need for Scotland to make drastic cuts in climate pollution sadly much of our transport policy remains at odds with this commitment.
Dr Dan Barlow, WWF Scotland
"Regeneration will be a direct result of the completion of the M74, helping to tackle pockets of unemployment through development of prime sites along the Clyde corridor and areas in Glasgow's east end and south side."

The ground-breaking ceremony brought renewed criticism from environmental campaign group, WWF Scotland.

Its acting director, Dr Dan Barlow, said: "It is highly ironic that on the very day MSPs debate a government motion on climate change, the first minister is celebrating the official start of Scotland's most expensive motorway project.

"Massive new road building schemes like the M74 and Aberdeen bypass put at risk the Scottish Government's pledge to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

"Proceeding with this pollution-generating motorway scheme is a bad decision for people and the environment.

"Whilst the Scottish Government acknowledges the urgent need for Scotland to make drastic cuts in climate pollution sadly much of our transport policy remains at odds with this commitment."

The cost of the project is being met by the Scottish Government and Glasgow, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire councils.

Work is being carried out by Interlink M74 JV, a joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est, Morrison Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine.


SEE ALSO
Final go-ahead for M74 extension
14 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
M74 rule breach allegation denied
28 Jan 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Leaders call for motorway action
27 Jun 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Motorway compensation bill rises
20 Nov 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Motorway court action abandoned
28 Jun 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Health protest at motorway plans
10 May 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
M74 project will 'waste millions'
27 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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