Maryville to Mollinsburn
The M73 is a relatively short motorway with a length of only seven miles. The route has interchanges with three of Scotland's most important motorways, the M74, M8 and the M80, and was built as a high quality replacement for the A73 trunk road.
While many of Glasgow's motorways are urban in nature, the M73 has more rural characteristics and features only four junctions. The route is a mixture of dual two, three and four lane motorway with hard shoulders in both directions. It was constructed under a single £9.5 million contract, however it opened to traffic in two stages in 1971 and 1972.
Plans for what became the M73 were first outlined in the Clyde Valley Plan of 1949 although limited progress was made at this time. In 1960 Babtie, Shaw & Morton was commissioned by the County of Lanark to carry out detailed traffic studies and develop plans for new roads throughout the region. This was supported by the Scottish Development Deaprtment.
The route was developed in conjunction with plans for the M74 Hamilton Bypass and was initially known as the Maryville to Pleaknowe Link Road. It was developed to utilise the benefits of the new M74, as well as the A8 and A80 dual carriageways, by taking traffic away from the A73 cross-county trunk road. This route, which passed through the urban heart of central Lanarkshire, was becoming increasingly congested by heavy vehicles travelling between England and Central Scotland. In effect, the selected corridor provided a western bypass of Lanarkshire and an eastern bypass of Glasgow.
Babtie worked closely with Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick to ensure that Glasgow's highway plans would tie into their neighbouring proposals. The result was an allowance for future connections between the M73 and Glasgow's Hamilton, Monkland and Stirling Motorways (the M74, M8 and M80).
M73 Motorway Construction Summary
Construction of the flyovers at Maryville Interchange was completed as part of the second stage of the M74 Hamilton Bypass scheme which opened in 1968. Construction on the first section of M73 between Maryville and Baillieston began in March 1969 with construction taking two years to complete. The second stage between Baillieston and the A80 opened in 1972. The main contractor was Balfour Beatty.
This article was first published in November 2020.