The new M74 motorway will generate as many as 20,000 jobs for the Scottish economy, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil said today.
The improved transport link, completed by between £15 - £20 million under budget, supported 900 jobs during its three year construction.
Completed eight months ahead of schedule, the M74 is expected to take around 20,000 vehicles per day off the M8 reducing peak hour journey times by up to 10 minutes.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Alex Neil said:
“The new M74 motorway will bring major economic and social benefits to businesses, communities and industry in the West of Scotland and the country as a whole.
“Thousands of new jobs will be created and because this crucial piece of infrastructure was completed several months ahead of schedule, millions of pounds of Scottish taxpayers’ money has been saved.
“The daily rush hour congestion in and around Glasgow will also be eased leading to improved travel, which is good news for business, commuters and the many thousands of visitors coming to Scotland.”
Interlink M74 JV Chairman, Bob Wilson, said,
“Interlink M74 JV is delighted to have successfully delivered the design and construction of the M74 Completion project, Scotland’s largest single road scheme in a generation. The opening today is a great day for everyone involved with the project and the wider Scottish construction industry.
“Throughout the three year construction period, Interlink M74 JV, a joint venture between Morrison Construction, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Sir Robert McAlpine, has worked closely with its customers, subcontractors and suppliers. Together, we have delivered this complex civil engineering project safely, ahead of programme and on course to be under budget.
“This is a testament to the ability of all those in the project team, and demonstrates what commitment, cooperation and teamwork can really achieve on a project of this scale.
“The project team has repeatedly been acknowledged for the high standard of its management and contribution to the environment and local community. The project has been able to employ a high proportion of local people creating over 50 employment opportunities for the long term unemployed.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
"This is a momentous day for Glasgow and for Scotland.
"We have completed the M74 - a vital part of the west of Scotland's motorway network and an important project for the future growth of the economies of both Glasgow and the country.
"This road is of major significance to the city. For years, Glasgow made the case for the completion of the M74 and since day one has been the force behind the project. The council staff have worked tirelessly to get the road finished ahead of time and under budget. Its completion will bring opportunities for thousands of individuals and businesses, support East End regeneration, and help us deliver the best possible Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"Today marks the start of a new era for Glasgow and the west of Scotland with an enhanced transport infrastructure, ensuring the city is better connected both nationally and internationally, and ensuring easier access to, from and across Glasgow."