Delays expected on M8 from Boxing Day
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:11
Drivers using the M8 over the festive period are being advised to allow additional time for their journey as essential road works starting on Boxing Day (26th December) are set to cause delays.
As part of a £30m investment programme, essential strengthening works are to be carried out on the M8 White Cart viaduct. This is the third phase of a four phase major refurbishment programme.
The White Cart Viaduct carries the M8 over the White Cart Water immediately to the south of Glasgow Airport, and is a principal route to the airport.
From Monday 26th December to Spring 2012 daytime traffic management will be in place, resulting in lane and ramp closures.
A worst case scenario could see delays of up to sixty minutes during peak periods and drivers are asked to plan their journeys accordingly using the Traffic Scotland website, to seriously consider alternative modes of transport where available and to listen for travel updates on the radio.
For the safety of the workforce, the travelling public and to help reduce congestion, average speed cameras have been enforcing a temporary speed limit of 40 mph since Friday 9th December and will continue to enforce the temporary 40mph speed limit until completion of the works in Spring 2012.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "The White Cart Viaduct section of the M8 carries over 90,000 vehicles a day and it is therefore crucial that we upgrade the structure to ensure the safety of those using the road.
"We have specifically chosen to start the daytime element of these works on 26th December because our data shows that this is when there is the least number of Heavy Goods Vehicles on this route and it is important that we do not have large numbers of these vehicles crossing while the works are carried out.
"Thereafter, there is a window of opportunity to complete the works which minimises the impact on other stakeholders such as Airport travellers. This approach mirrors those carried out during previous phases of the works.
"The traffic management in place during these works will inevitably increase journey times for those travelling on the M8 and we would urge drivers, particularly those heading to the airport, to plan ahead and to allow additional time for their journeys."
The phase three strengthening contract costing £11.8m commenced in July 2010 and to date all work has been inside and below the White Cart Viaduct. There have been overnight lane closures on the motorway since Monday 28th November.
This next part of the contract sees work commence on the carriageway and requires day-time traffic management to be put in place.
Bridges like any other structure have a finite life-span and must be maintained and upgraded. The White Cart Viaduct was built in 1968 and now carries over 90,000 vehicles daily. These essential strengthening works are unavoidable and on completion will ensure the bridge is brought up to modern standards and can comply with current loading and safety requirements.
Extensive design, planning and liaison has taken place with stakeholders such as BAA Glasgow Airport, the Police and Renfrewshire Council to identify the optimum solution to undertake these works efficiently and safely whilst minimising disruption to road users.
The nature of the works means that there will be small ramps on the road surface. For this reason, and to protect the road workers, an average speed camera system will be installed to enforce the 40mph speed limit in place on this stretch of the road. The average speed camera system will be decommissioned following completion of the works and the route will revert to a 60 miles per hour limit.
This is the third phase of a £30m programme of works to upgrade the White Cart Viaduct and is being undertaken by BAM Nuttall.
The work includes strengthening of the steel box girders using external and internal plating, replacement of the existing eastbound carriageway expansion joints, installation of permanent internal lighting within the steel boxes and renewal of the drainage system below deck.
This will be followed up with phase four to repaint the external steelwork of the box girders, undertake concrete repairs and below deck maintenance work. Estimated completion of the full programme of works is 2016.
Motorists using the M8 during the festive period and beyond can access up to the minute journey time information at www.trafficscotland.org. Further journey planning information is also available on Twitter and via the Travelline Scotland/Transport Scotland travel app.