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.
While many of the routes we cover are very urban in nature, the M73 has more in common with a rural long distance motorway and features only four junctions. The route is a mixture of dual two and three lane motorway with hard shoulders in both directions.
LOCATION: M73 - Glasgow/North Lanarkshire
OPENING DATE: 19th May 1971 (J1-J2), 10th April 1972 (J2-J3)
DESIGNER: Babtie, Shaw & Morton
CONTRACTOR: Balfour Beatty
LENGTH: 7 miles
TOTAL SCHEME COST: £9.5 Million (£115 million in 2017 prices)
MISC: Junction 2A Gartcosh completed October 1999.
Designed by Babtie, Constructed by: RJ McLeod Ltd.
The M73 opened in two stages - Stage 1 between Maryville and Baillieston (terminating on the newly completed Baillieston Roundabout with a connection to the A8 and Stage 2 between Baillieston and the A80 at Mollinsburn.
At this time Baillieston Interchange was of a flat roundabout configuration. Advanced works were carried out as part of the contract to allow for the passing of the M8 below it at a later date. The Maryville structures were built as part of the M74 Hamilton-Uddingston Bypass.
The route is a dual two lane motorway with hard shoulders in both directions to the north of the Baillieston interchange, while to the south it is three lanes wide due to the higher traffic flows interchanging between the M74 and M8. Maryville Interchange marks the start of the M73 as it begins its journey northwards from the M74. The interchange is of an impressive design and provides full access, free flow links between the two motorways. It is This type of junction is known as a Semi-directional T.
Heading northwards the M73 climbs a slight gradient as it approaches the large Bailllieston Interchange complex. Here the route interchanges with the M8 Motorway and A8 trunk road. This mega junction covers over 100 acres of land and consists of four levels. On level 1 is the M8 which runs from east to west. On level 2 is the A8 Baillieston Roundabout. Level 3 consists of the M73 running from north to south and on level 4 is the high loop that provides free flow access to the M73 southbound from the eastbound M8. In all there are twenty one concrete bridges which were built in two stages. Crossing through the middle of the interchange is the A89 Coatbridge Road which has direct access to both the A8 and M8.
Unlike a conventional three-level-stacked-roundabout or “stackabout” the Baillieston interchange does not provide full access between the M73 and M8 instead only allowing an east to south movement from the M8 and full access to either east or west from the M73. The interchange took the form of a roundabout connecting the A8 to the A89 with the M73 passing over the top from 1971 until 1980 until 1980 when the complex was completed. Construction is underway to upgrade this junction as part of the M8 completion and will see several smaller roundabouts built on the A89 and some bridges demolished.
To the north of Baillieston Interchange the M73 narrows to dual two lanes and continues in a rural style until Gartcosh junction. The junction, numbered as 2A, was completed in October 1999 and is configured as a full access dumbbell interchange. It serves the small community of Gartcosh and the Gartcosh Business Interchange and cost £3.5 million to construct. It is the only “minor” interchange on the whole motorway.
A few miles further north the M73 terminates on the recently completed M80 at Mollinsburn. This junction is a slightly embellished fork interchange that provides free flowing movement for traffic going north to east from the M73 and vice versa west to south on the M80 onto the M73. It also features new slip roads leading to roundabouts that provide access to the old A80 for access to the communities of Moodiesburn and Chryston. The new junction configuration also provides further local access in the from of an unclassified link road that passes over the top of the new M80 providing access to Baldenbeath and an industrial estate. This junction was completed in 2011 and replaced the older and more simple fork junction that was completed in 1971 and simply connected with the A80 with no local access. The stretch between Maryville and Baillieston will shortly be widened to four lanes in each direction as part of works to complete the M8 between Baillieston and Newhouse.
As part of works to extend the M74 from Maryville to Fullarton a number of concrete sign gantries were constructed along the route between Maryville and the north side of Baillieston Interchange. These were added in addition to two original steel beam gantries and were designed to assist with traffic weaving/merging to/from the M74 from the north or south. These works were completed in late 1994 and were carried out by MacKenzie Construction and Merson Signs.
The signage on the gantries is in a similar style to that seen on the M8 but with some "stacking". These signs will shortly be demolished and replaced with a number of new structures as part of the M8 completion scheme.
Plans for the M73 were first outlined in the early 1960s when Babtie, Shaw & Morton were 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 Uddingston-Hamilton-Larkhall Bypass section of the M74 and was first known as the Maryville to Pleaknowe Link Road. It was developed to utilise the benefits of the new M74 by taking traffic off of the A73 cross-county trunk road which was becoming increasingly congested by heavy vehicles travelling between England and Central Scotland in addition to providing for local Lanarkshire traffic and an eastern bypass for Glasgow.
Babtie worked closely with Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick to ensure that the Highway Plan for Glasgow would tie into neighbouring proposals. The result was a connection between the proposed M73 and the Hamilton Motorway (M74), Monkland Motorway (M8) and Stirling Motorway (M80).
Construction of the main flyovers at Maryville Interchange was completed as part of the Uddingston-Hamilton-Larkhall 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.
Construction was carried out by Balfour Beatty. The contract was valued at £9.5 Million.