Where is it?
On the A8, part of the Glasgow to Edinburgh trunk road, where a shortcut between the M74 south and A8 east connects.
It was spotted by Martin Spiers.
What's wrong with it?
Look at the picture. Do I need to say more?
Oh, okay then. Where do I start? The A725 from the south, a grade-separated dual carriageway, merges with a B-road to form a single carriageway road. The B-road forms a right-hand entry and exit. The A725 from the north is dualled until this junction, but gives up. The flyover connecting the two halves is single carriageway. The sliproads connecting to the A8 are also single carriageway, and have the kind of corners you would associate with a mountain pass. There's more but I think you get the idea.
Why is it wrong?
I think that's obvious too. This part of the A8 was dualled and grade-separated in the early 1960s, and back then a tiny junction with narrow, sharply curved sliproads was probably fine.
The problem is that since then, every improvement that has been made to the roads approaching this junction has failed to do anything about it. A grade-separated dual carriageway plugs into the south and just gives up, leaving its traffic to fight through two horrible junctions to get onto the A8 eastbound. A complete shortage, in other words, of joined-up planning.
What would be better?
The death penalty for anyone who designs a junction like this.
Right to reply
About a year ago a new roundabout was added at the north side of the junction. This has improved the situation for vehicles from the south needing to turn to the right onto the A8. Unfortunately they still have go through the bottleneck on the south side.
The A725 northbound actually reduces to single carriageway where it merges with the B-road, creating a bottleneck - since the Strathclyde Business Park opened a few years back just down the A725, the evening queue to filter 3 lanes (2 A725 + 1 joining from the business park) can be very frustrating. It does look like they're to reinstate the 2-lane flow at the B-road merge, by fitting traffic lights - this work has been ongoing for a number of weeks without it being obvious what they're actually trying to do.
Oh, and the only reason there's a grade-seperated junction with the B-road (the original A725 before the Bellshill bypass opened) is that there was an old disused railway bridge, which they used for the southbound carriageway - this is much narrower than would be allowed these days, and I suspect that it will become single-lane when the M8 upgrade happens.
This junction has been changed to traffic lights on the approach from the south. Instead of the A725 being put down to one lane as you come up on the merge they have put traffic lights on the A725 and the B-road and you can now use the two lanes through the junction. This gives capacity back and stops the fighting to merge on the approach. About time someone with some thought applied a litle common sense. Shame it's being ripped apart soon anyway.
I have the 'joy' of having to negotiate the A8-A725 junction every day! Not the most pleasant of experiences: so many people have no idea what lane to be in or indeed how to move from lane to lane. Those little orange things at the front and back and on the wings of most cars are called indicators and should be used to, as the name suggests, indicate which direction you intend to travel! There is so much chopping and changing done it makes you dizzy watching it.
I think that this interchange with the A8 is terrible. The southbound A725 is made to go round and under the B7070. That is part of the reason I hate it. There is also a fifth sliproad at this junction from A8 Westbound to A725 Southbound. It should be that the B7070 should been terminated on the A725 at a T Junction, and the main interchange becomes a Roundabout Interchange.
The lights were finally switched on in September, well over a year since the work began and around 6 months since being first installed. I queried the delay with Transport Scotland in August, and received a reply from Graham Dick, Liaison Officer of Amey (who have the local trunk road maintenance contract) stating:
"Although civil and electrical engineering aspects of the traffic signal installation were, as you note, completed several weeks ago, a pre-commissioning Safety Inspection identified serious concerns in relation to the speed of traffic and forward visibility to the signals. Attempts to resolve this with additional warning signs and realignment of the signal heads were not successful and we had no alternative but to undertake additional earthworks. Our own design work is complete and the specialist works are currently out to tender. Subject to no further difficulties being encountered, we expect that the signals will finally be commissioned by October. Although the delay in completing the project is regretted, I am sure you will appreciate that safety must take precedence."
One would have thought that that sort of thing would have been worked out before the project began, but this is a British road project so needless to say... They eventually dug the embankment away to the left of the A725 so that traffic approaching the lights can see them from further back. I wonder why an overhead gantry-type traffic light couldn't have been used? Anyway, I have to finish by saying that the new layout seems to be working, as the queues at the junction are (so far) virtually non-existent, and even if stopped by the lights it's still much quicker to get through.
This was originally in Transport Scotland's plan for upgrading after the M74/A725 (south end) Raith Interchange project, but all mention of that project has disappeared from the public documents... The plan was: 1) A725 south end (Raith); 2) A725 north end; M8 road charging.
They've installed the ANPR cameras all along the M8 but, like I say, all mention of the intermediate project on this junction has gone. Maybe, when the Raith interchange is finished in 2012/2013, we'll be moving to road pricing. General populace hasn't realised that this is coming.
Good news! This section of the A8 is to be upgraded to full motorway, therefore all the junctions will be reconstructed to suit. Chance for a fresh start?
Coming from Coatbridge and going towards East Kilbride, you get through the roundabout and then the two lanes of traffic are forced into one. Then, you have to move to the left into the outside lane of traffic coming off the A8 and a lot of it is weaving across you to get out into the B7070.
Oh, and people have been reported missing whist they were trying to turn right here into the A8 towards Glasgow.
I wonder if the original plan for the junction was for it to be linked to the A8-to-M8 upgrade, so the feeling was that there was little point fully upgrading the junction only for it to be ripped out when the M8 came rushing past.
Work is now well under way to remove the right hand exit and entry of the B7070 and the A725 has been realigned over a new bridge over the line of the new M8. Access to the B7070 will be closed for 3 weeks to allow a temporary left in left out junction to be built, this will be in operation for 8 months to allow the permanent layout of the B7070 to be built.
Junction now almost redundant with opening of the new M8 - however, there are works continuing to sort out the remaining parts of the junction as traffic wishing to travel on to the M8 westbound need to go along the A8. Has been some significant traffic hold ups as the traffic lights installed during construction has generated enormous queues.
This one can almost be put to bed now. The 3 sets of lights are now operational and the A725 is dual carriageway through the junction. Queues on the A725 have reduced dramatically as most eastbound traffic now goes under the bridge and onto the new M8 without having to cross the southbound traffic on the level. Along with the underpass at Raith the reduction in peak hour journey time from Coatbridge to Eat Kilbride is around 20 minutes (roughly half the previous time)!