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Route of the M8 and A8

The first and last east-west motorway north of the M62, the M8 links up Edinburgh and Glasgow in style. It runs from the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass, across the old A8, and right into the absolute centre of Glasgow. The urban motorway blasts a path through the city and out the other side, giving up the chase for Greenock ten miles short.

There is a gap in the M8 (fixing it is still in the planning stage) where six miles of the A8 still exist. This section was already dualled and grade-separated when the M8 was built, so it was left in place. It is now sorely below the needed standard.

The section through central Glasgow is notorious - it is inadequate for current traffic levels, forming two sides of a never-finished inner ring road, and the mix of local, long-distance and commuter traffic is lethal. It is five lanes wide in places, but at crucial points in the centre manages only two. The knotted tangle of junctions includes Britain's closest exits - 18 and 19 eastbound. There are numerous sliproads and bridges built in this section which were never put to use.

Relief is on the way, however, in the form of the new M74 extension - long planned and soon to soothe the M8's woes, bypassing the central Glasgow section completely and allowing traffic travelling from one side of the city to the other to avoid the city for the very first time. It is, remarkably, a new urban motorway, mostly elevated and pushing its way through the industrial areas south of the Clyde. Things like this just don't get built these days in Britain! But then, Glasgow has always done things differently where motorways are concerned - as the M8 has long since proven.

Factfile

Start Edinburgh (A720)
Finish Greenock (A8)
Passes Glasgow, Paisley
Length 61 miles
Terminates M9, M77, M80
Spurs M898
Meets M73

With thanks to Paul McCulloch, John Prentice, Alistair Stewart, Kev, Allan McPhail, Ian Bailey, Ashley Sharp, Andrew Hamilton, Fraser, Brian Smith and Phil for information in this section.