Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was on hand to officially open a £500 million Motorway Improvements Project.
Work has been undertaken on stretches of the M8, M73 and M74 motorways, with the end result saving motorists approximately 20 minutes on their journey times.
The project is part of a £1.7 billion investment by Transport Scotland to improve the road network in Scotland, which will address congestion issues for motorists.
This is certainly the case on the M8 motorway, where analysis now shows that journey times have improved significantly, even at times of greatest use.
Not only is this hugely advantageous for passengers and commuters, but the Transport Scotland research suggests that the Scottish economy will benefit from the work; the time saved on journeys is expected to contribute in excess of £1 billion to the country’s economy.
Crucially, it will help British businesses, as improved connections between Edinburgh and Glasgow will mean that professionals can travel from one place to another quicker, meaning greater productivity in the long term.
The economy benefited throughout construction, which provided either training or employment to more than 8,000 workers and in the long term, sustainable employment opportunities will be created in the form of 60 full time roles to operate and maintain these routes over the next 30 years.
The First Minister spoke at the Maxim Business Park at Eurocentral when officially opening the scheme.
She explained the importance of the project and how this and similar work is crucial to the construction industry.
“The M8 is a vital link in the central belt and this newly completed section will help connect people to business, leisure and education opportunities, and also creates a better environment for companies to do business.
“Businesses are already reporting a journey time saving of up to 20 minutes travel between Scotland’s biggest cities and a similar saving for those using Raith junction.
“These improvements and additional road capacity will ensure our economy has room to grow.
“With the completion of this project and three others – the Queensferry crossing, the first section of the A9 dualling and the Aberdeen bypass – by next spring, more than 250km of new roads will have been completed in the last 10 years – representing a total investment in construction of £2.81 billion.”