|From:||Edinburgh, Midlothian (NT180710)|
|To:||Bishopton, Renfrewshire (NS407731)|
|Distance:||61 miles (98.2 km)|
|Meets:||M9, M73, M74, M77, M80, M898, A8(M)|
|Route outline (key)|
The M8 is a motorway linking Edinburgh to Greenock via Glasgow. The Renfrew Bypass section was initially referred to by the Scottish Office as A8(M) but was signed as M8 from its original opening in March 1968. The Harthill bypass section, opened in November 1964 but not then extending either east to J4 or west to J5, was the second stretch of motorway in Scotland (or third if the A823(M) spur is counted separately from the M90).
Where the M8 passes close to the centre of Glasgow it forms part of the (still incomplete) Glasgow Inner Ring Road and is both the busiest and widest motorway in Scotland and the most elaborate urban motorway in Britain.
For many years there was a gap in the M8 between Baillieston and Newhouse east of Glasgow, where the route was taken over by a stretch of dual carriageway, grade-separated A8 largely of 1963 vintage. The main works to build the missing section of motorway started in 2014 and were completed in 2017.
Not all of the M8 was built on a new alignment. A stretch each side of junction 5, totalling about 2.6 miles, was an online upgrade of a section of A8 built in the 1930s, and the section completed in April 2017 is also partly on the line of the A8.
- 1 Route
- 2 Junctions
- 3 Services
- 4 Structures
- 5 Opening Dates
- 6 Links
Edinburgh - Newhouse
A relatively dull rural motorway. The M8 used to begin at Newbridge Roundabout (called junction 2) but was diverted and extended (as always planned) to the City of Edinburgh bypass at Hermiston Gait in the late 90s.
From the easternmost point at Hermiston Gait, travelling west, the road is joined by an on-slip from the Calder Roundabout on the A71. A little further west, traffic travelling citywards has the option of an off-slip, still called Junction 1, which joins the northern end of the A720 and runs up to the Gogar roundabout.
Westwards, away from the city, the road turns to the right in a northwest direction, almost meeting the mainline railway heading to the west, then turns left again to Junction 2 where the M9 heads north (with the M90 leaving it soon after for the Forth Road Bridge). It continues through a mix of rural land and industrial estates along the Bathgate railway line, passing particularly close to Uphall station. The railway leaves on a more southerly line around Junction 3, where the A899 connects the M8 with Livingston. Beyond this is the more recent Junction 3A, built to improve access to Bathgate and the western suburbs of Livingston.
The next section lies in a less developed area away from the towns of the central belt, while following close to the B7066, the old Edinburgh-Glasgow road. Junction 4 with the A801 serves Bathgate from the west. Around here the M8 follows the River Almond valley for a while, before climbing upwards. Junctions 4A and 5 serve Whitburn and Harthill but little else. Between them lies Heart of Scotland services, formerly called Harthill, and known to central-belt travellers as one of the few stops for the Citylink express Edinburgh-Glasgow coach.
West of Junction 5, it passes Kirk O' Shotts without a turnoff. The motorway formerly came to an end at Junction 6 (Newhouse) where the A73 provides access to Airdrie to the north, and Newmains to the south.
Monkland Motorway (Ballieston - Townhead)
The Monkland Motorways was mostly built on the Monkland Canal.
Glasgow Inner Ring Road (Townhead-West Street)
The M8 takes the north and west flanks of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road.
Renfrew Motorway (West Street-Hillington)
The Renfrew Motorway begins with the M8 running on wide slip roads, as the south flank of the IRR was to be the mainline. Heading from the IRR to the Ayr Motorway (M77) the M8 is four carriageways wide. Traffic from the Kingston Bridge was originally meant to use the outer carriageways, though a bodge means that it uses the inner carriageways meant for the other half of the IRR. This outer carriageways sat barely used until the M74 extension plugged into them.
Renfrew Bypass (Hillington-Southbar)
The Renfrew Bypass was the second section of M8 to open. The scheme sometimes bore the number A8(M). For years, the Glasgow city section, being under the authority of the City Council didn't have junction numbers. As such, the Renfrew and Bishopston bypasses had junction numbers starting at 8 (Hillington).
The Renfrew Bypass ended at Southbar Interchange, a now defunct junction that seemed to close when J30-J31 opened.
Bishopton Bypass (Southbar-West Ferry)
Now very much a rural motorway, the M8 bypasses Bishopton. This section of motorway was mostly built to link to the Erskine Bridge. The M8 comes to an end on the south bank of the Clyde opposite Dumbarton, specifically the imposing form of Dumbarton Castle across the river. The A8 continues uninterruptedly westwards towards Greenock as dual carriageway, while a roundabout links the eastward A8.
The notorious Junction 15, where the M8 meets the A803. It was designed as one of the corners of the never-completed Glasgow Inner Ring Road, complete with Offside Sliproads!
Charing Cross and Anderston Junctions
A sequence of junctions labelled as 17/18 and 19, but with almost constant on and off slips as the M8 makes its way across the west end of the city centre. Along the way it meets the A82, A804 and A814 amongst others.
Heart of Scotland services
Heart of Scotland services (formerly Harthill) are located between junctions 4 and 5, and was the first MSA in Scotland.
The Kingston Bridge carries the Glasgow Inner Ring Road section of M8 across the River Clyde just to the west of the city centre. The bridge has five traffic lanes in each direction, but no hard shoulders. The two outer lanes southbound are weaving lanes connecting the on and off slips either side of the river. On the north bound side of the bridge, the two outer lanes are now segregated from the main carriageway, primarily to prevent the weaving movements. These two lanes are, despite not actually connecting to the rest of the M8 in any way, still designated as part of the Motorway.
- Work to start on £500m M8, M73 and M74 motorway upgrades (29.01.2014)
- Drone footage shows scale of £500m motorway upgrade (01.09.2016)
- M8 'missing link' will open a week ahead of schedule (12.04.2017)
- M8 'missing link' officially opened (14.08.2017)