Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Motorway extension 'taking shape'

Builders said the motorway link was beginning to take shape

The link up of two of Scotland's main motorways is moving closer to completion, according to the transport minister.

Stewart Stevenson has helped to lay the first foundations for the junction of the M74 with the M8.

The project is the largest infrastructure scheme in the country and at its peak is expected to support about 900 jobs.

It will join the M74 near Carmyle to the M8 west of the Kingston Bridge.

The extension project, which is due to be completed and opened next year, is a partnership between Transport Scotland, Glasgow City, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire councils.

We have made significant progress on site since being awarded the M74 Completion project in March last year
David Welsh
Project director

Speaking at the site of the M74/M8 westbound viaduct, Mr Stevenson said: "Today marks the beginning of a significant phase of construction of the M74 Completion project - a symbolic moment when two of Scotland's major motorways are brought together.

"While our investment in transport infrastructure will be crucial in the sustainable growth of Scotland's economy for years to come, it is also bringing jobs to the hard-pressed construction industry now.

"At its peak this project will support around 900 jobs - many of them young trainee professionals who will gain valuable experience in their respective professional trades."

He added: "Through this and other major infrastructure projects in Scotland we are providing our most valuable asset - our people - with a firm footing for the future, and Scotland with sustainable economic growth."

m74 map
The extension will connect the M74 to the M8

Councillor Chris Thompson, chairman of South Lanarkshire Council's enterprise resources committee, said: "People will now be able to see the road beginning to take shape and realise, when complete, the positive impact it will have on journey times throughout the west of Scotland.

"The project is also providing hundreds of specialist construction jobs, something which is very welcome in the current economic climate."

David Welsh, Interlink M74 joint venture project director, added: "We have made significant progress on site since being awarded the M74 Completion project in March last year.

"A number of new recruits, many from the local area, have joined the Joint Venture team bringing additional skills and experience."

Last summer auditors warned that the estimated final bill for the extension project had risen by 35m.

Audit Scotland said the five-mile motorway project could cost about 692m - more than double the original estimate.

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