Motorway upgrade delay questioned

Motorway The M8 is Scotland's busiest motorway

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Scottish ministers have been accused of causing unnecessary delay to a plan to upgrade the "missing link" on the M8 motorway in North Lanarkshire.

Scotland's busiest motorway becomes an A-road for a six-mile stretch between Baillieston and Newhouse.

Labour MSP Wendy Alexander said ministers had sat on the conclusions of two reports on upgrading the A8.

The Paisley North MSP said work should have been completed by 2010 but that had now slipped to 2013/2014.

The Scottish government said the work on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow road may be carried out with other schemes to offer best value to the public.

Ms Alexander said a public inquiry into the proposals was held in 2008 and the reporter's conclusions were submitted to Scottish ministers in October of that year.

Timetable 'slipping'

The former Scottish Labour leader said a separate report on the M8/M73/M74 improvements was submitted to ministers on 24 July 2009.

"The SNP government needs to explain why it is taking so long to make a decision on the upgrade of the A8," she said.

"Ministers have been sitting on more than one inquiry report for the past year and this project is in danger of slipping further and further behind the original timetable.

"Completing the M8 is vital for motorists who commute in and around Glasgow and Lanarkshire and to Edinburgh. Why have SNP ministers sat on their hands for 20 months and 12 months following receipt of Inquiry reports?"

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: "We expect to announce a decision shortly.

"Subject to approval of the M8 Baillieston to Newhouse scheme, Transport Scotland is considering packaging the M8/M73/M74 improvements and the proposed M74 Junction 5 Raith works to provide best value for the public."

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