Four consortia picked for Scottish motorways tender
Four consortia have been invited to tender for a £415m construction project which will complete central Scotland's motorway network.
Transport Scotland chose Scottish Roads Partnership, Caledonia Roads Group, Connect Roads and Scotia Roads Group.
Plans include upgrading the A8 Baillieston to Newhouse, completing the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The M74 Raith Interchange will be improved and key sections of the M8, M73 and M74 will be widened.
The project is expected to start late next year, with completion slated for 2017.
Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil said he was delighted to see strong interest from companies.
"Strong competition can only be good news for the taxpayer and we also know from our experience on our recent, successful M74 completion and M80 projects, this kind of infrastructure project will undoubtedly boost the local and Scottish economy, supporting hundreds of local construction and supplier jobs," he said.
"This project will see us complete the vital central belt motorway network and is good news for motorists, for the construction industry and for the Scottish economy.
"Commuters between Edinburgh and Glasgow will see traffic and journey times reduced and road safety improved."
He added: "Businesses will benefit from increased accessibility and improved ability to transport goods and services quickly and efficiently."
The Scottish government predicts the project will lead to a reduction of more than 100 accidents per year and savings of more than £118m over 30 years.
The successful contractor will be required to deliver on-the-job training for apprentices and local employment opportunities.