Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 17:43 UK

M74 extension costs rise to 692m

The cost of the extension has drawn close to 700m

The estimated final bill for the M74 extension through Glasgow and South Lanarkshire has risen by 35m.

According to the financial watchdog, Audit Scotland, the five-mile motorway project will now cost about 692m - more than double the original estimate.

Transport Scotland said 95% of costs were now fixed.

The remaining 5% would depend on final bills for land compensation, utility diversions and supervising the site during the three-year construction.

When the project was commissioned by the Labour/Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive, the cost was originally estimated at 250m.

This was later revised to between 375m and 500m.

'Cost optimism'

In February, the cost was stated as 445m plus an allowance of about 12m to deal with mineworkings.

With the 200m already spent, this took the projected cost to 657m.

But the Audit Scotland report into public construction schemes across the country found that in many cases "early cost and time estimates were too optimistic".

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said the M74 extension would "still deliver a cost-benefit ratio of about five to one for every pound spent".

Work on the five-mile extension officially started in May.

It is expected to open in 2011, connecting the M74 to the M8, west of the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow.

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28 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
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27 Jun 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
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