2006-01-28

M8 Airport/Braehead Bridge Repair to Cause Delays till May

Motorists using the M8 to travel to Glasgow Airport face serious disruption over the coming months, following the announcement of 3.8_million_GBP strengthening and upgrading work on the 'White Cart Viaduct'. The bridge forms part of the M8 next to the airport and is the principal access route to the airport for traffic travelling from the east and west. An estimated 80_000/day vehicles cross it, 8_000 of which are going to (or from) the airport. The work, which will be carried out by 'Amey', who maintain major roads across southern Scotland, is expected to cause serious delays. Beginning on 2006-02-10 and lasting for three months, it will involve closing the slip-road from the airport to the M8 heading east into the city centre, while one lane on each carriageway of the motorway will be shut for the duration of the project. A 40_mph limit will also apply, with temporary speed cameras to enforce it, and a contraflow system will be put in place. In addition, on the first weekend, only one westbound lane will be open and two on the eastbound, coinciding with an Old Firm match between Celtic and Rangers, one of the busiest times on the bridge, and serious delays are anticipated. 'Amey' engineers have estimated that the average delay during the work -- without taking into account unpredictable events such as accidents -- will be at least 20 minutes. Taxi drivers have also warned that customers crossing the bridge during the work will face higher fares due to the delays and diversions. The 'Amey' spokesman Mr.Jim Gilmour said everything was being done to minimise disruption:
'Because of the sensitive nature of the work and the area, the traffic management which results in restrictions down to two lanes, we're very conscious about getting this information out to the public, so they can understand why we're doing it. 'We have chosen this time of year because it is a period when traffic levels are at their lowest for the airport and Braehead shopping centre, and the work will hopefully have the minimum impact possible. 'But no time is a good time.'
A spokesman for BAA Glasgow said:
'We have been working for some time with "Amey" on these plans to ensure we minimise the disruption to our staff and passengers. 'From an operational point of view, the winter months are much quieter in terms of passenger numbers, so this is as good a time as any to carry out these necessary roadworks.'
Ms.Sue Nicholson, of 'The RAC Foundation', urged motorists to plan for delays and consider using public transport. 'Amey' said investigations on the 822 metre bridge had shown repairs were essential to bring the 38-year-old structure up to modern standards. 'M8 motorists warned of delays on bridge', Craig Brown, The Scotsman, 2006-01-27

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