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The Lomond Motorway also had its origins within the Highway Plan and later GGTS. It was essentially an extension of the North Link Motorway which sought to provide a northern bypass of the city from the Monkland Motorway to the A82 north of Clydebank. The Lomond Motorway section began near Canniesburn Toll - at the terminus of the Maryhill Motorway - with free flow links with both it and the North Link to avoid the congestion issues likely with an at-grade junction.


The design of the terminus of the Maryhill Motorway at the top of Maryhill Road, near Killermont Avenue and Rannoch Drive, was selected to ensure that the Lomond section could be added at a later date. Traffic and cost benefit analyses revealed that the motorway would become crucial towards the latter years of the study period and it was therefore intially included within Target 3 (construction up to 1990). As a result, detailed design or route assessment were never undertaken and so specifics of what the finished motorway would have looked like are not available. Given the majority of the proposed route passed through agricultural land it is likely that the route would have been designed to rural standards. In the Highway Plan a further route was shown continuing northwards as the Trossachs Motorway. By 1975 the need for this route was under reconsideration with the expectation being that it would considerably downgraded or cancelled. The alternative layouts considered at Summerston show how the route would  have been accommodated.


From the initial studies it’s clear that free flow links were to be provided with the A82 Great Western Road, near the present Kilbowie Roundabout, and at least two junction layouts were considered as part of the planning for the Maryhill terminus in the east (see diagrams opposite). The GGTS running lane diagram clearly shows the Lomond Motorway as having only two lanes in each direction – this would have been adequate even with the maximum anticipated growth figures in vehicle ownership. Like the Maryhill Motorway the Lomond would have helped to reduce traffic flows on Great Western Road and Maryhill Road – particularly with traffic heading for Dunbartonshire and beyond.


It can be argued that a case for the construction of a northern bypass of the city remains valid. The traffic issues predicted in the Highway Plan have not simply vanished – traffic growth has been consistently above what was anticipated. A large number of vehicles make the journey from Dunbartonshire or the West Highlands across the city towards Edinburgh and to the south and such a route would cater for this. Interchanges could be provided with the M80 near Robroyston and the route could terminate on the M73 or on the M8 near J11 as originally intended. Glasgow City Council have a long term plan to provide a route but most likely not as a motorway. This was recently unveiled as part of the City Deal partnership with the UK Government.



From Bilston Drive the road would have continued in a north westerly direction, still on the line of the canal. It would have passed through the eastern side of Maryhill crossing streets such as Lochburn Road, Thornton Street which would have each been realigned. Allowance was made for new housing schemes which were in development to ensure the route did not interfere with future plans. Along this stretch it is likely that the route would have been constructed with two running lanes and a hardshoulder, although the 1975 plan does provide justification for three running lanes in future. Three lanes would have been provided within the vicinity of the interchange with the North Link Motorway. Around this location the road began to move some distance from Maryhill Road and the motorway is shown as being in cutting to reduce its visual impact.


At Stockingfield Locks the motorway moved away from the line of canal. It was intended that the Forth & Clyde Canal would be enhanced at this location to privde a recreational facility. The designers recommended that the Victorian features of the location, such as a footbridge at Baird' Brae, be refurbished and retained. In the Highway Plan the Kelvindale Expressway was shown to interchange with the motorway at this location. This road was scrapped in 1971.


Detailed landscape proposals show that a large number of trees were also to be used as a screen. As the motorway passed Gilshochill it was to be built on the hillside. The images opposite illustrate this in some detail. It is this section of the route that created the largest public opposition, particularly as it passed through a particularly deprived built-up area with low car ownership. There is little evidence of a “corridor” on the ground today as very little advanced works were carried out in this area. This was most likely as a result of public opposition.


At the time of the proposals the section north west of Maryhill was predominantly green field in nature. There were plans for a large housing scheme in the Summerston area and it is for this reason that the line of road was altered from that in the Highway Plan to that in the 1975 proposals. The road was altered to curve around the eastern side of this housing area. A junction was proposed at Cadder, adjacent to the railway branch line, to ensure adequate access to the road for these new housing areas. This junction would also have allowed access to the motorway from Balmore Road - another busy route located to the east. With plans for the North Link at a very early stage there was some debate around the final design of the interchange. A cloverleaf design was utimately recommended over a roundabout. See images & Lomond Motorway section below. The route continued through greenfield agricultural land until it reached its terminus near Killermont, just to the south of Canniesburn Toll. This terminus was planned as a simple at grade roundabout with Maryhill Road near Killermont Avenue. Some minor property acquisition and demolition would have been required and the plan details which buildings would have been affected. The scans opposite provide an illustration of the landscaping planned for the route at this location. The section below details how the road would have continued as the Lomond Motorway and considers whether the road would have helped traffic flows today.

From the North Flank of the Inner Ring Road (specifically at Woodside Viaduct) the road would have travelled in a northerly direction along the line of the Glasgow Branch of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The motorway, which was proposed as two lanes with hardshoulder, would have run parallel to the massive warehouses of Spiers Wharf. The culturally significant building by the lock would have been retained and panoramic views of the city centre and west end would have been visible as the road climbed towards the M8. An allowance for the road being added was made during the planning of the North Flank and a number of bridges and extra wide sections of viaduct were constructed to ensure this could be carried out with ease. The only major structure required would have been a bridge crossing the eastbound M8 to tie in with the westbound viaduct. The original sign gantries constructed also allowed for this future connection.


The route would have continued along the route of the canal crossing Possil Road where a limited access junction with north facing slips was to have been provided. From here the route turned north westwards towards the Firhill area where a large meander in the canal was bypassed. The road would have passed between Firhill Stadium and Maryhill Road and until only a few years ago an obvious gap in a number of tenement blocks was apparent where it would have squeezed through.


Beside Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Queens Cross Church there were proposals for a plaza and public square. The motorway would have been placed in cutting at this location so as to limit views of it from this area and to allow easier access to the football stadium. Alexander Duncan Bell produced a number of illustrations of how the motorway would have looked at this location and some of these can be seen opposite.


The road would have travelled adjacent to Maryhill Road as it headed towards the junction at Bilsland Drive. A number of surface street realignments were recommended to allow for the motorway, and for the most part these were completed. Examples of this can be seen on Maryhill Road from the Maryhill Fire Station to the junction with Queen Margaret Drive. Here the existing road was moved to the south to create the necessary width for the motorway.


An extension of Queen Margaret Drive to provide a link from Bilston Drive to Great Western Road was also provided. The reason for these improvements was to tie in with the proposed full access junction at this location.


A number of slip roads would have been constructed in an attempt to achieve maximum benefits from the motorway. The plan above shows how this would have been accommodated within the limited land available – a number of tight radius curves which proved so effective on the Ring Road would be utilised again. Between Bilston Drive and Possil Road the empty land created for the motorway has mostly been refilled. A number of housing developments during the early to mid-2000’s were responsible.


This section of the route was broadly the same in all of the plans in which it was contained. Like the Monkland Motorway the canal provided an obvious line for the route which would have reduced additional community severance issues. At this time the canal was closed to navigation – it would be a further decade or so before regeneration schemes were proposed. A project to construct a new berthing point for canal traffic was completed in 2005. The scheme, adjacent to Spiers Wharf, effectively ended any future roads tying in with the M8 at this location.

The Maryhill Motorway was one of the earliest schemes proposed in the Glasgow Highway Plan to be cancelled. Maryhill residents were outraged at the proposals to construct an urban motorway near their homes and by the early 1970s had launched a vociferous campaign against it. The construction of the M8 Inner Ring Road through Charing Cross and the impact it had on that area only strengthened their resolve. In some cases songs were written about the struggle against the city planners in addition to protest marches and public petitions.


Several public engagement exercises were conducted by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick as detailed proposals for the route were progressed. These were very well attended (over 3300 people at one) and advertised in advance. Officials from the Corporation Office of Public Works also actively took part in these to ensure residents were provided with as good a forum to put their points across as possible.


After these exercises a number of changes to the scheme were recommended in an attempt to limit the visual impact of the scheme on adjacent communities. Some sections of road were now planned to be in cuttings rather than on flyovers or viaducts and some junction layouts were modified to reduce land requirements and overall scale. These changes were accepted by the Corporation planning committee and incorporated into the plan however local residents remained opposed.


Eventually a number of local councillors and Members of Parliament (mostly on the Labour side) began to lobby against the construction of the route. With the creation of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1975 and a re-evaluation of the roads programme the scheme was ultimately dropped. New transport studies for the city did not include any routes through this corridor. The scheme was never part of the Scottish Development Department's road plans or their committed highway network.


The Maryhill scheme was noted as having a particularly high first year rate of return of 25% and was considered a high priority for completion. It was included within the Target 2 Network which was programmed from 1975 onwards. The effects of its cancellation can be felt today with chronic peak time congestion on Great Western Road, Maryhill Road and Balmore Road. The north western corner of the city has a distinct lack of road capacity with few, if any, enhancements made in the last half century. This is undoubtedly having a negative effect on the economy of the city and Bearsden and Milngavie to the north.


In our view this scheme is perhaps the “most needed” of any cancelled scheme in the Highway Plan or GGTS and that even today its construction would result in traffic benefits across a large part of the city. That said, we appreciate that the construction of urban motorways adjacent to particularly deprived areas with low car ownership is never an ideal solution and perhaps plans for a road on a scale similar to the East End Regeneration Route should be considered. These could tie in with the City Council’s plans for a northern bypass of the city  In hindsight perhaps an expressway class road would have been most appropriate and would not have resulted in the same negative reaction.


In the short to medium term it seems likely that Great Western Road and Maryhill Road will remain congested and a nightmare for road and public transport users alike. Recent alterations to parking bays and a ban on on-road parking at peak times have had limited impact. The installation of bus lanes, whilst helping public transport users for a few hundred yards, ultimately reduce road capacity further and create bottlenecks where the buses need to remerge with general traffic.

A number of junctions and interchanges were proposed along the route. These are listed below. From the 1975 proposals it's clear that the Bilsland Drive junction was expected to be the busiest and so full north and southbound access to the motorway was provided. A further interchange, where the Maryhill and North Link Motorways merged, would have been built between junction 4 and 5.


Junction 1: M8 Inner Ring Road - connections to both the eastbound and westbound carrigeways.


Junction 2: North flacing slip roads only with connections to and from Possil Park and Firhill.


Junction 3: Full access junction at Bilsland Drive. Expected to very busy. Connections north and southbound.


Junction 4: South facing slips only signed for Kelvindale, Maryhill, Lambhill and Summerston.


Junction 5: Canniesburn Toll - the temporary terminus of the Maryhill Motorway.


A further interchange would have been provided between the North Link Motorway and Trossachs link as shown in the diagrams below.The Lomond Motorway would likely have had at least a further two interchanges.

The Maryhill & Lomond Motorways

The Maryhill and Lomond Motorways were developed as part of studies for the Glasgow Inner Ring Road. In providing a radial route from the north flank of the Ring Road to the north west of the city the roads were designed to alleviate traffic flows on Great Western Road and Maryhill Road. The plans was scrapped in the late 1970s following public opposition.


This page examines the way in which the route was developed and considers what impact the road would have had on traffic today. We look at what evidence remains on the ground along it's intended path.

Last Updated: 07th February 2016

Maryhill Header


Key Facts & Figures

LOCATION:   Glasgow/East Dunbartonshire

LENGTH: 8 miles

DESIGNER:   Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick

PROJECTED SCHEME COST:   £26 Million (£207 million at 2017 prices)


STATUS: Cancelled at detailed design stage (late-1970s)


The Maryhill and Lomond Motorways were subject to a number of detailed studies throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. The plan pictured above (published May 1975) outlined a "final" proposal for the Maryhill route and sought to consider the views of local people.


The scheme was one of the many Glasgow routes that were never built. Unlike many others it was subject to detailed planning before its cancellation. This allows us to make direct comparisons between the original route as detailed in the Highway Plan and the final proposal. If you have any stories or material relating to the Maryhill plans we would love to hear/see them. Feel free to get in touch via the usual means - [email protected] or on Twitter @GlasgowsMways

Final Study Report & Proposed Route

The final Maryhill Motorway study was submitted to Glasgow Corporation in May 1975. Like most of the Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick submissions it is a fantastic document which provides a thoroughly comprehensive outline of what form the road would take. It is very much of its time and contains recommendations that would not be considered acceptable in modern transport planning.


The document is nicely bound with thick card covers and is filled with diagrams and illustrations. Whilst primarily produced for the Corporation its simple style makes it easy to understand. As with the Highway Plan, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick recruited the services of artist Alexander Duncan Bell to provide illustrations of the road at various points along its route. Glasgow’s Motorways has been fortunate to secure a copy of this very rare document and we have added it to our historic archive.


The Maryhill Motorway route can be broken down into two sections: the urban section from the M8 Inner Ring Road to Bilsland Drive and the semi-urban section from Bilsland Drive to Canniesburn Toll. Detailed descriptions of each section based on the 1975 plans handed to Strathclyde Regionl Council are outlined below. This proposal differs slightly from the scheme within a Highway Plan for Glasgow and the Greater Glasgow Transportation Study. The maps opposite and below illustrate the route nicely.

Route Breakdown: M8 Inner Ring Road to Bilsland Drive




Route Breakdown: Bilsland Drive to Canniesburn Toll


The Lomond Motorway

Maryhill Motorway Review

Proposed Junctions

Maryhill Motorway Facts

1. The Maryhill and Lomond Motorways were envisaged as a continuous route and were to be assigned a single route number. It was expected that this would be M81 with M82 being reserved for the North Link Motorway.


2. The route was designed to have a maximum speed of 60mph though this would have reduced to 50mph south of Bilsland Drive.


3. Consideration was given to constructing the route as an expressway but this was found to result in very few savings.


4. Works to pipe the canal would have been required in advance of construction.


5. The total estimated cost of construction was just over £26million. Two separate, simultaneous contracts, similar to those used on the Renfrew Motorway were recommended.


6. Traffic flows of up to 65,000 vehicles per day were predicted by the year 2000.

Maryhill Route Today

The images above were taken along various parts of the route in mid-2014. There is clear evidence of a "corridor" for the route, particularly in the southern section around Possil Road and adjacent to the canal. It is quite easy to envisage a road being slotted in, particularly around Possil Road and Bilsland Drive where there is already a severance issue. The "dead" slip road from the M8 westbound also remains intact.


The top image shows the M8 and Spiers Wharf from the air in June 2014. This illustrates how the road would have merged with the North Flank of the Inner Ring Road pretty well. The canal basin at the bottom of the image was only constructed around ten years ago. Until then it would have been quite easy to add the connecting slip roads.