Video: Amey completes polystyrene filling project on disused tunnel at Forth Road Bridge

The blocks were installed in steps for safe working at height

Forth Bridges operating company Amey has completed an unusual project to infill a disused railway tunnel underneath the approach roads north of the Forth Road Bridge.

The structure originally formed part of the Dunfermline to North Queensferry railway line, providing a link to the ferry service until the opening of the Forth Bridge in 1890 and continuing in limited use for freight until 1954.

The tunnel runs underneath the A9000 and B981 on the northern approach to the Forth Road Bridge. It is 420 metres in length, 4.3 metres wide and 5.1 metres high, with a vaulted roof and brick lining. Both ends had been sealed off and the adjacent cuttings filled in, so the only remaining means of access was via a vertical shaft at each end.

Amey engineers carried out a structural inspection in February 2016, finding that parts of the tunnel were degrading and in need of preventative maintenance to ensure continuing structural integrity. Due to the limited depth of cover above the tunnel, a failure could potentially have had an impact on the roads overhead.

Two options were considered: an ongoing programme of inspection and maintenance, or a one-off project to infill the tunnel with a low cost material. The infill option was chosen as it would eliminate the need for future inspections or maintenance and so prove more cost-effective in the long term.

After considering workforce safety, overall cost and the need to avoid disruption to the local community, it was decided to fill the tunnel with expanded polystyrene (EPS) blocks manufactured to a specific compressive strength capable of resisting the weight of rock and tunnel lining in the event of a localised failure. Unlike with concrete or aggregate material, EPS blocks can also be easily removed if the tunnel ever needs to be reopened.

Installing hydrocarbon resistant membrane

The EPS blocks were pre-cut to a size and weight that allowed easy manual handling on site. This allowed work to be carried out from the access shaft at the north end of the tunnel, keeping construction traffic out of North Queensferry for the majority of the works. Another advantage of the lightweight blocks was that they could be delivered in large lorry-loads, significantly reducing the number of vehicle movements required.

Once offloaded, the blocks were passed down the access shaft and transported along the tunnel to the work face hooked onto a specially designed sliding monorail system.

The tunnel was lined with a hydrocarbon resistant membrane, before a total of 21,342 EPS blocks were installed, built up gradually in steps to allow safe working at height.

Local primary school children from Burntisland and Lauriston were invited to fill two time capsules with items of their choice. These were then buried in the tunnel amongst the blocks.

Once the body of the tunnel was infilled the access shafts were filled with concrete to seal the tunnel and prevent damage to the blocks, with work reaching a conclusion in late March 2018.

Mark Arndt, Amey’s operating company representative for the Forth Bridges Unit, said: “This has been an unusual and interesting project where we’ve learned something new about the history of the area as well as gaining the satisfaction of making a disused tunnel safe.

“The team deserves particular credit for developing innovative solutions that maximised workforce safety while minimising the cost to the public purse and the impact on local communities.

“It’s a real measure of success that most local residents were not even aware this work was taking place, despite the tunnel emerging within metres of homes in North Queensferry.”

Images courtesy of The Forth Bridges

Contingency plans take hold in wake of Carillion collapse

Carillion is part of a coalition delivering the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR)

Clients and joint ventures partners of collapsed contractor Carillion have taken steps to begin contingency plans after the firm entered compulsory liquidation today.

An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the UK’s second largest construction company before opening of business this morning after talks with the UK government to save the company were unsuccessful.

The firm had been involved in the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and had contracts with Registers of Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, West of Scotland Housing Association and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde among many others.

Network Rail awarded Carillion a contract last year to deliver platform extension works and the firm is also responsible for two facilities management contracts worth £158m with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which cover 83 military sites in Scotland.

Contingency plans have now been put into effect with the hope to minimise disruption to the projects.

Galliford Try is in joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty on the construction of the £550m section of the AWPR between Balmedie and Tipperty for Transport Scotland.

“The Scottish Government are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts.”

Economy secretary Keith Brown

Galliford Try said: “The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.  Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members. The companies will discuss the position urgently with the official receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman reiterated the bypass project will be completed by the spring.

He said: “We expect that any impact on the AWPR will be mitigated by the fact that Carillion’s construction partners are joint and severally liable and as such, the other two construction partners remain fully responsible for the completion of the works.

“Aberdeen Roads Limited, the construction joint venture for the project, confirmed recently that they remain committed to the delivery of this project.”

Amey has incorporated joint ventures with Carillion to deliver the regional prime and national housing contracts for the MoD, through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). These contracts maintain the MOD estate in the UK.

It said: “The terms of the joint ventures’ arrangements mean that Amey will continue the services now that Carillion has announced it is entering into immediate compulsory liquidation. Amey is committed to doing this and ensuring continuity of service to the DIO and MOD and the service men and women in the UK.

“For the past few weeks, Amey has been working on detailed contingency plans with the DIO and the Cabinet Office to ensure it can effectively continue to manage the contracts and these are being implemented today.

“Amey confirms it is fully prepared to continue the service obligation of the contracts without adverse effect on the employees of the joint ventures or the supply chain.”

Network Rail commissioned Carillion for both the Waverley platforms extension project and the electrification of the railway line through Shotts.

In addition, the firm was also contracted for platform works at Broughty Ferry and Aberdeen railway stations.

Carillion Powerlines secured an £11.6m contract to carry out electrification work on the Shotts line in December

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are activating our contingency plans as a result of this unfortunate news.

“We will be working closely with the administrators and Carillion’s management team to ensure projects that they are working on continue and that the supply chain is maintained for this important work.

“Our aim is to ensure that this news has as little impact as possible on our projects to grow and expand the railway network.”

Kier Group, which currently operates joint ventures involving Carillion on HS2 and the Highways England smart motorways programme, jobs, will now have to take them on alone or seek a new partner.

A Kier spokeswoman said: “We have put in place contingency plans for each of these projects and are working closely with clients so as to achieve continuity of service.

“Following today’s announcement and after a short period of transition for these contracts, we do not expect there to be an adverse financial impact on the group arising from these joint venture contracts.”

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said that it was “taking steps to secure the future of the 1,400 Carillion apprentices” by redeploying them to other firms.

CITB chief executive, Sarah Beale, said: “The news of Carillion entering insolvency is clearly a significant blow to the UK construction sector. While this will present the sector with a number of challenges, CITB’s priority is to do all it can to ensure that Carillion apprentices can continue their training so their skills are not lost.

“We have established a project team to work with the apprentices and will be offering in principle grant and apprenticeship transfer incentives to our employer base in order to retain these learners. We will be working closely with the ESFA, the official receiver and our network of college providers so that every possible support is in place to help these apprentices continue their training. We will be liaising with the official receiver with a view to contacting the apprentices as soon as possible.”

The Scottish Government said it is in talks to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts in Scotland.

Cabinet secretary for the economy, Keith Brown, said: “Our first thoughts are with those Carillion employees who will be concerned for their jobs today and we are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government regarding the measures they intend to put in place regarding private sector, Network Rail and UK govternment-backed contracts in Scotland to support Carillion employees and to secure the completion of these contracts.

“The Scottish Government has been working to manage or eliminate risks associated with Carillion’s difficulties since July last year and we have contingency plans in place for affected contracts, including the AWPR where the contract contains a mechanism for the remaining two joint venture partners to deliver the project and we expect that work to continue.

“I have spoken to the Secretary of State for Scotland this morning and my officials have also spoken with PwC to establish the situation and should it be necessary we stand ready to support for any affected employees through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative which aims to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work.”

Carillion director joins highways executive team at Amey

Ray Jones

Ray Jones

Amey has announced the appointment of Ray Jones from Carillion to its highways executive team.

Having spent the last 15 years with Carillion working across several sectors, Ray joins Amey as a business director to help grow its presence in the local authority market.

Amey’s highways managing director, James Haluch, said: “Following a challenging year in 2016, we are now much more focused on growing our business and delivering what we do well. Ray has great experience both winning new work and delivering a highly customer-focused service for clients. I am pleased to be welcoming him into my Executive Team, where he will join us in driving Amey’s growth in the highways market.”

Ray has been responsible for a range of utility and highways contracts with clients such as Siemens.

Ray Jones said: “I am delighted to be joining James’ team at this crucial period for Highways. I look forward to working with colleagues across the business unit as we look to build on recent successes and deliver an excellent service for our highways clients and the local communities in which we work.”

Four design firms chasing £50m A96 upgrade contract

A96Four design consultancies or joint ventures are to be invited to bid for the contract for a 26-mile stretch of the A96 from east of Huntly to Aberdeen.

The contract, worth up to £50 million, is expected to be awarded later this year.

The road forms the eastern section of the Scottish Government’s plan to dual the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen by 2030.

AECOM Limited, Amey Arup joint venture, Atkins WSP joint venture and Jacobs UK Ltd have been invited to tender for the work.

Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, said: “This major contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that will bring to the north-east and the Highland’s, including improved journey time and reliability, improved connectivity and improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting Scotland’s two most northerly cities.

“When this contract is awarded later this year, design work for the eastern section will step up a gear with route option assessment work getting underway. This contract will also provide the successful bidders with steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work, so it will be a boost for the local and national economy.

“At the same time, we are progressing other parts of the A96 Dualling programme with draft Orders published for the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) late last year. Design work is also underway for the western section between Hardmuir and Fochabers and we hope to let the public see and comment on the options being developed in the summer.”

Forth Road Bridge wins engineering People’s Choice Award

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presents the ICE People’s Choice Award to the winning team behind the Forth Road Bridge repair

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presents the ICE People’s Choice Award to the winning team behind the Forth Road Bridge repair

The reopening of the Forth Road Bridge has been voted by the public as the greatest civil engineering achievement of 2016.

The Bridge was one of 12 nominations for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award from projects across the UK which have improved people’s lives – protecting homes and businesses from flooding, improving the environment and helping us get from A to B faster and more safely.

Other entries included station improvements in Birmingham and Manchester, a 21st Century sewer network for London and flood protection and wetland habitat using waste from London’s Crossrail tunnel.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented the winners, Transport Scotland and Amey, with the new trophy at a ceremony yesterday at ICE’s UK headquarters at One Great George Street, Westminster.

Inspection work being carried out on the Forth Road Bridge

Inspection work being carried out on the Forth Road Bridge

Sir John Armitt, deputy chair of the National Infrastructure Commission and ICE Past President, was in attendance at the ceremony.

The Forth Road Bridge carries 70,000 vehicles each day and is a vital connection both for commuters into Edinburgh and between central Scotland and the North and East of the country.  Its closure in December 2015 led to a 33-mile diversion for travelling public, creating significant disruption.

Civil engineers worked around the clock to repair the fractured truss-end link which caused the closure. Their expertise and dedication enabled the bridge to reopen to traffic ahead of schedule and in time for Christmas, and later for HGVs, exceeding the public’s expectations.

Social media kept an anxious public and politicians informed and engineers became the heroes of the hour as images of them suspended over 50 metres above the water in wintry weather went viral, showcasing civil engineering on a global stage.

deccontrast-landscapeRelated: Forth Road Bridge repairs… one year on

Ms Sturgeon said: “This prestigious award is significant in that it was voted for by the public in their droves and saw off competition from the rest of the UK. The strength of feeling in terms of appreciation, community spirit and respect for those who fixed the bridge is clear for all to see in the thousands of votes cast.

“It is very fitting that the unsung heroes responsible for producing such an innovative solution under intense pressure have been recognised for their efforts. They worked tirelessly in extremely challenging weather conditions to repair and reopen the bridge. The collective response to this unforeseen event was remarkable and reinforced Scotland’s solid reputation for engineering excellence.”

Andy Milner, CEO at Amey, who maintain and repair the bridge, said: “The work to repair the Forth Road Bridge represented a true logistical and engineering challenge. Amey’s full breadth of capability and knowledge was used to re-open the bridge ahead of schedule. We feel extremely proud to have been involved, and to have received this award.”

ICE director Wendy Blundell added: “Civil engineers help bring clean water and energy to our homes and design, build and maintain the vital transport infrastructure on which our quality of life and economy depend. Unfortunately it is often only when that infrastructure fails that we understand the true value of civil engineering. I’m delighted to see the vital contribution our members make to society recognised by the people who use it.”

Fractured steelwork on a ‘truss end link’

Fractured steelwork on a ‘truss end link’

The award follows repair of the damaged steelwork being crowned the overall winner of the 2016 Saltire Society Civil Engineering Awards.

Forth Road Bridge repairs… one year on

deccontrast-landscapeA year on from the reopening of the Forth Road Bridge after an unprecedented three-week closure for repairs to fractured steelwork, considerable progress has been made.

The bridge reopened to 91 per cent of traffic on 23 December 2015 after the completion of emergency repairs. Work then continued around the clock through storms and freezing weather to design, fabricate and install temporary brackets and cables to allow the bridge to reopen to HGVs and abnormal loads up to 150 tonnes on 20 February 2016.

State of the art structural health monitoring systems were installed, providing engineers with live data on stresses and strains in the steel. These systems have since been reviewed and enhanced.

At the same time engineers pushed on with design of a permanent replacement for the components that had failed. Option appraisal was complete by April, with the chosen design incorporating a sophisticated permanent sliding bearing arrangement to be fixed to the tower beneath the existing truss – a world first.

A full-scale mock-up trial of the strengthening works required inside the main tower was carried out in August, involving the construction of a six-metre high replica on dry land, using 12 cubic metres of concrete. This drew on the latest developments in material technology and provided Amey’s engineers with invaluable information on the challenges faced whilst working within a confined space.

Work on site began at the end of August on a trial of the permanent truss end link replacement at the North East main span – the location where the original fracture occurred. The detailed design is now complete and fabrication of the steelwork and bespoke bearings is in progress.

Thanks to the temporary repairs already completed, this trial can be carried out without any significant disruption to traffic, allowing Amey’s engineers sufficient time to work through and assess each detail of this unique and challenging project. Work on site is now expected to be complete in March 2017 and lessons learned will inform similar permanent replacements planned for the other seven truss end link locations beginning in June 2017.

Mark Arndt, Amey’s account director for the Forth Bridges Unit, said: “The team did a great job to get the bridge reopened to traffic last winter, but we’ve kept the momentum going to implement a permanent solution. Thanks to the work already carried out, this next phase of works will not cause significant disruption to traffic, however we’ll continue to keep the public updated on progress.

“We now have better data than ever before on the stresses in the bridge thanks to the structural health monitoring systems that have been installed. This, combined with the ongoing proactive investigation and analysis carried out by our engineering team, will be invaluable as we replace the truss end links and apply lessons learnt to other areas of the bridge. ”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “A year since the reopening of the Forth Road Bridge is the right time for Amey’s Forth Bridges Unit to provide an update on their work to design, test and install the permanent repair to the truss end links. This is a technically challenging project, but crucially, due to the temporary repairs completed last year, is one that can be undertaken without any significant delays to traffic using the bridge.

“Engineers are now in a much better place to understand the ongoing health of the bridge. This is due to the improved structural health monitoring and studies of key elements of the bridge over the course of the year. As normal, general traffic will continue to use the bridge until the Queensferry Crossing opens in May 2017.”

Springburn households benefit from multi-million pound flooding investment

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project 2 - credit SNS PhotographyTwo major projects to tackle flooding that has affected 47 properties in the Springburn area of Glasgow have been completed as part of Scottish Water’s ongoing £250 million upgrade to the city’s waste water infrastructure.

The projects, which involved a total investment of more than £16m, will reduce the risk of flooding which has affected 34 properties in the Elmvale Row area and 13 in the Avonspark Street area nearby.

The £12.5m Elmvale Row project included the installation of two giant storage tanks, providing 13,500 cubic metres of storm water storage in the sewer network, to alleviate the surcharging of the sewer system.

The tanks, which were pictured from a 140 feet tall crane during their construction, are now invisible to people at ground level after the grassy area that existed before the project began was reinstated and prepared for landscaping and the installation of public paths and shrubbery in due course.

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project 3 - credit SNS PhotographyProperties in the Elmvale Row area have experienced recurring problems with flooding for a number of years, including flooding to garages, car parks and roadways.

The risk of this happening again has been substantially reduced with the completion of the two-year project, which is part of Scottish Water’s investment to improve river water quality in the River Clyde and its tributaries and alleviate sewer flooding.

To minimise the risk of flooding, amey Black & Veatch (aBV), Scottish Water’s delivery partners, installed new storm storage that included the two large circular tanks, which are each about 25 metres (82 feet) in diameter and 18 metres (60 feet) deep.

Pumps were installed in the tanks to form a storm return system which will return the storm water stored in the tanks back into the sewer system once the storm conditions have abated. A control kiosk was installed beside the tanks.

The project also included the upsizing of about 400 metres of waste water pipes in Elmvale Row, Elmvale Street, Ratho Drive, Fernbank Street and Hawthorn Street.

More than 12,000 tonnes of material, including rock, was removed from the project site to level the ground before construction started.

The final stages of work included the installation of channel kerbs in Elmvale Row and Fernbank Street, which have created additional storage capacity for excess rain water from the road gullies.

Meanwhile, Scottish Water and aBV have also completed a £4m project to tackle flooding that has affected properties in Avonspark Street and Edgefauld Road.

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project - credit SNS PhotographyThe project, which started in September 2015, included the installation of a 2,500 cubic metre capacity storm water storage tank in the sewer network to alleviate the surcharging of the system. The tank is 20 metres in diameter and 16 metres below ground level.

Chris Wilcock, a flooding team leader with Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water is delighted to have completed these two very important projects, which are key parts of our overall investment in our waste water infrastructure across the Greater Glasgow area.

“We are committed to doing all we can to help communities and customers by playing our part in tackling flooding and dealing with the impact of heavy rainfall.

“A number of properties in the Elmvale Row and Avonspark Street areas have suffered from recurring flooding over a number of years and we fully appreciate the inconvenience this can cause. We know that affected customers will welcome the completion of improvements to our network in the area.”

The projects are part of Scottish Water’s 2015-21 Business Plan commitment to remove all customers from the internal sewer flooding register (those with a 10 per cent or greater chance of flooding occurring per annum) as quickly as possible and typically within four years.

Scottish Water has alliance partners to deliver upgrades, maintenance and new infrastructure assets for the people of Scotland in the 2015-21 investment period.

All images courtesy of SNS Photography

‘Remarkable’ Forth Road Bridge repair project wins engineering award

(2) Scaffolding and inspection

Inspection work being carried out on the Forth Road Bridge.

The repair of damaged steelwork which led to the closure of the Forth Road Bridge in 2015 has been crowned the overall winner of the 2016 Saltire Society Civil Engineering Awards.

The Forth Road Bridge: Truss End Links Repair by Amey engineers was last night awarded the Greatest Contribution to Scotland Award after judges praised the work for being “a remarkable engineering achievement carried out during a period of adverse weather conditions, whilst ensuring public safety and the structural integrity of the bridge”.

Scotland’s longest bridge, used by over 24 million vehicles a year, was forced to close in December last year after fractured steelwork was identified in a ‘truss end link’.

Fractured steelwork on a ‘truss end link’

The fractured steelwork which forced the closure

Quick and efficient work of the contractor and clients engineering teams enabled the Forth Road Bridge to reopen to all vehicles except HGVs on 23 December.

By repairing the bridge ahead of schedule and under extreme media, political and public scrutiny, the lives of tens of thousands of commuters and travellers, who were forced onto heavily crowded trains, relief buses and alternative roads in the interim, were able to return to normal after only 20 days of disruption.

Scaffolding for the project was provided by Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services (SGB).

Welder fabricators at work suspended high above the Forth

Welder fabricators at work suspended high above the Forth

Established in 1981, the Awards are a much coveted accolade from the Saltire Society and the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland, recognising excellence and innovation in civil engineering.

This year’s Awards have been revamped to feature six individual categories to mark 2016 as the Saltire Society’s 80thanniversary and include a new award for the project judged to have made the greatest contribution to Scotland.

The Infrastructure award went to the A82 Pulpit Rock Realignment on the banks of Loch Lomond. Projects that received commendations include the Lamington Viaduct on the River Clyde, the Gourock Pier Redevelopment, Ngau Tam Mei to Tai Kong Po tunnels in China, and the Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Installing structural health monitoring systems

Installing structural health monitoring systems on the bridge

Convenor of the judging panel Gordon Pomphrey, said: “The Forth Road Bridge project demonstrated a remarkable engineering achievement carried out during a period of adverse weather conditions, whilst ensuring public safety and the structural integrity of the bridge.”

Speaking on behalf of Amey, major bridges director Ewan Angus said the project offered a “unique opportunity to showcase civil engineering to the nation”.

He added: “We are incredibly proud of our team’s achievement in reopening the bridge early in the most challenging of circumstances and of the benefit this brought to the people of Scotland.”

Overnight works during phased HGV trial

Overnight works during phased HGV trial

Humza Yousaf, minister for transport and the islands, added: “It is fitting that the unsung heroes responsible for developing such an innovative and effective solution against a challenging deadline and under the watchful eye of a nation have been recognised for their efforts.”

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society, said: “This is a special year for the Saltire Society as we reflect upon 80yrs of celebrating the Scottish imagination in all its forms. Civil engineering is vital to modern living and a successful economy and we believe it is important to recognise the achievements of the industry and the wide variety of projects that make such an impact on our daily lives.”

The awards were presented at ceremony in the National Museum of Scotland on Tuesday 25 October.

Amey lands A90 Laurencekirk junction design deal

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf

Transport Scotland has announced the intention to award the contract for the next phases of design for the A90 Laurencekirk junction upgrade to Amey.

The contract award will see Amey undertake route option assessment work and develop a preferred grade-separated junction option, leading to the preparation of draft road Orders.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Earlier this year we announced £24 million for the design and construction of a new grade-separated junction at Laurencekirk as part of as part of a package of additional investment alongside the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

“We are committed to completing this important upgrade as soon as possible and the appointment of design consultants means we are now stepping up the work to deliver this much-needed scheme for the people of the north east as soon as possible.

“We have been working hard with the two local authorities and Nestrans and we will continue that partnership approach so we can bring improved road safety and economic benefits to road users and the local community in Laurencekirk and the north Angus area.

“The planned improvements at Laurencekirk add to our already impressive transport infrastructure investment portfolio in the north east which includes the £745m AWPR, improved road access on the A96 at Inveramsay Bridge which is now open to traffic, dualling the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness, major improvements to the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line, and the ongoing design work to remove the notorious bottleneck at Haudagain roundabout.”

Video shows new M8 ‘missing link’

Humza Yousaf meets construction staff on site

Humza Yousaf meets construction staff on site

A spectacular aerial video has been released of the new M8 ‘missing link’ currently being constructed as part of the £500 million M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project.

The exclusive Transport Scotland drone footage reveals for the first time the advanced progress of a 5km section of the new M8 between Shawhead Junction and Baillieston Interchange, following a site visit by Humza Yousaf, the minister for transport and the islands.

This newly constructed section of the M8 motorway will see three lanes of traffic travelling in each direction when completed, in addition to the two lanes in each direction available on the existing A8. As a result, the traffic travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the new M8 Motorway will be separated from local traffic using the A8.

It is expected this separation of strategic and local traffic will ease current traffic volumes by up to 25 per cent on the new M8 Motorway and shave almost 20 minutes off the daily commute between the two cities at peak times.

Mr Yousaf said: “This drone footage provides the public with a unique perspective of these major construction works that are currently underway to improve the connection between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are largely out of sight to road users on the existing A8.

“The significant progress achieved is clear to see, and as we enter the final phase of works along the A8 corridor, I hope the public can be reassured that once complete, the benefits will far outweigh the current disruption. I’d like to thank road users for their patience to date and would ask that they bear with us during this final push to complete the M8 missing link.”

The footage also shows 5km of new pedestrian and cycle routes which run parallel to the new motorway. This is part of 16km of new and improved routes which are being created to link with existing walking and cycling paths; improving the connections between many of the local communities, businesses and areas of employment in North and South Lanarkshire and Glasgow.

The aerial footage showcases numerous construction milestones which have been completed since the project began in February 2014, including the new, 2,000 tonne Braehead Rail Bridge, which was moved into position in July last year and now carries the Rutherglen to Whifflet railway line over the new M8.

Dario Saavedra, construction manager, described the progress of the new M8 and the challenges his team has faced: “Now in its final phase of construction, road users can begin to visualise the new Shawhead Junction, with the structures carrying the new North Road and widened A725 in their final alignment. Shawhead Junction has been very challenging due to high volumes of traffic on all approaches, but we have worked hard to minimise disruption to the public as much as possible.

“The video shows the greenfield section of works almost complete and people will now be able to picture how the finished M8 motorway will look for the first time.

“The footage also shows how the new M8 will tie into the upgraded Baillieston Interchange, while the existing A8 will connect with the A89 via a newly constructed roundabout at Bargeddie.”

This section of the new M8 is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2017.

Scottish Roads Partnership (SRP), with its main contractors Ferrovial Lagan and Amey, is the company responsible for delivering the £500m investment project in Scotland’s trunk road network for Transport Scotland.

It aims to tackle congestion problems on the A8/M8, M73, M74 and at key junctions, including Raith (M74/A725) and Shawhead (A725/A8).

Gabriel Valtueña-Ramos, SRP general manager, said: “We commissioned this footage to provide the public with a bird’s-eye view of how the project is progressing on the new M8 between Shawhead Junction and Baillieston Interchange.

“As this section nears completion, it’s much easier to visualise the finished road, and as the construction heads into its final stages, road users will continue to see the new benefits as each major milestone is completed.”

When complete, the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project will significantly reduce congestion across the central Scotland motorway network, and improve the travel time reliability between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

This major investment will also help promote sustainable economic growth by improving access to facilities and employment areas, opening up new opportunities for businesses and inward investment in West Central Scotland and beyond.