Above the M8

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The M8 is a major inter-city route but it doesn't let Scotland's biggest city stand in its way. The motorway carves a path through the centre, partly in trenches and cuttings, and partly high on viaducts. This gallery shows some of the scenes to be found at ground level where the M8 runs to the west of the central area.

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Looking north from the footbridge near Sauchiehall Street, the M8 emerges from a tunnel two levels beneath us and curves east. Braided sliproads are visible to the left.

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Looking to the right, this carriageway is part of the A803. It carries some traffic from the A82 wishing to join the M8 further along, some off the M8 wishing to access this part of the city, and some actual A803 traffic too.

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A view straight from a 1960s urban planner's sketchbook. The curved sliproad in the centre is about to join the A82 northbound; the bridge to the right is a right-hand exit from the westbound M8.

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An engineer inspects the motorway signal, in what is otherwise a very urban setting.

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This office building is actually built on a structure that was intended to be a road bridge, which sat empty for many years. It was known as the "bridge to nowhere" locally, as it spanned the motorway and immediately stopped to both sides. Today it helps to break up the view of the motorway.

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The grand Mitchell Library is one of Glasgow's main civic buildings. It fronts directly on to the M8.

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A broader view of the Mitchell's setting. It's incredible that this was ever considered good planning — but then the effect is actually not as bad as it might have been.

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A look south from the same location shows "the canyon". At this point the motorway is at a high point in the cutting; to both sides it falls away. The reason is that it is crossing a sub-surface railway and has to rise a little way in order to clear it.

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A little further along, the junction 18/19 complex comes into view.

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A closer view of the multiple viaducts and sliproads that meet here. The bridge in the distance was meant to be a footbridge, but was never opened. It runs for quite some distance, but neither end reaches ground level.

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Another view of junction 18 and 19. The tall viaduct spanning this view, behind the unopened footbridge, connects the A804 eastbound to the M8 Kingston Bridge. At the time the photo was taken, it was closed for refurbishment, hence the scaffolding structure covering part of it.

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One of the distinctive direction signs used only on Glasgow's motorways. The sign face is made up of perspex panels which are backlit with fluorescent tubes. Their most unusual feature, however, is that they never show arrows to indicate lanes or exits.

M8 at night

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After dark, the direction signs really show their value. Not all look quite as clear as this one, though: they are still being manufactured and this one is almost brand new. You can make out the pattern of lighting tubes behind the sign face.

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A long view along the canyon, showing the hump where it crosses the railway line. The Mitchell Library is to the right.

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A bright view of the canyon, this time a little closer to the junction 18/19 complex.

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Another view of junctions 18 and 19.