Glasgow & West Scotland

New Raith Interchange underpass to open on Thursday

Keith Brown at the Raith Interchange Image copyright Transport Scotland
Image caption Economy Secretary Keith Brown (left) said the underpass should improve journey times through the junction by up to 15 minutes

A new underpass at the Raith Interchange will open to traffic on the early hours of Thursday morning.

The A725 underpass which runs below the M74 motorway, has been under construction since July 2015.

It is hoped that the route between Bellshill and East Kilbride will help ease congestion at junction 5 near Hamilton in South Lanarkshire.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said it should improve journey times through the junction by up to 15 minutes.

Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP) completed the construction as part of the £500m motorway improvement plan which began in February 2014.

'Tangible difference'

The work will upgrade the A8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh in addition to major improvements to the M73, M74 and A725.

The 560m long (1,837ft), 35m wide (115ft) underpass will provide a free-flow link for traffic between the Bellshill Bypass and the East Kilbride Expressway.

Mr Brown said: "This investment will make a tangible difference to road users, alleviating the traffic congestion that has been a historic problem at the Raith."

Formally known as the Bothwellhaugh Interchange, the Raith is used by 75,000 vehicles on a daily basis.

Now, 50 years since the junction first opened to traffic, SRP have also constructed three new bridges to carry the motorway and local traffic over the new underpass.

In addition, two new footbridges are being installed over the roundabout which will create a safe access route over the busy junction between Bothwell and Strathclyde Country Park.

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