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South and East Flanks

The Glasgow Inner Ring Road was planned as an urban motorway route around the city centre. Only the north and west flanks were constructed and today these carry the M8 motorway through the city. The ring road was designed by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and outlined in the "Interim Report on the Glasgow Inner Ring Road" published in 1962.


The page focusses on the unbuilt south and east flanks of the route. Controversial from the outset, the project underwent several revisions before it was shelved in the early 1980s. Provisional design works were undertaken by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick.

Last Updated: 30th November 2017

Key Facts & Figures

LOCATION:   Glasgow City Centre, High Street, Glasgow Green, Gorbals, Tradeston

DESIGNER:   Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners

CONSULTING ARCHITECT:   William Holford & Associates

PROJECTED SCHEME COST:  £56 million (1977 prices) Equivalent to >£320 million in 2017.


LENGTH:   2 miles


The South & East Flanks were subject to a number of detailed studies throughout the late 1960s and 1970s. A plan published in 1977 outlined a "final" proposal for the route and sought to justify the scheme to Strathclyde Regional Council. This included the westernmost section of the Hamilton Motorway, added due to savings offered by constructing it concurrently (see map opposite). The scheme was considerably scaled back in 1980 to remove the Glasgow Green section.


The scheme was one of many proposed Glasgow routes that were never built. Unlike many of the 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 various alternative proposals.


If you have any stories or material relating to the south and east flanks we would love to hear/see them. Feel free to get in touch via the usual means - [email protected] or on Twitter @GlasgowsMways

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The south and east flanks of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road were not constructed. Together, they would have completed the motorway loop around the city centre, and have included a connection to the Hamilton Motorway. It was intended that they would carry the majority of “through traffic”, i.e. traffic heading for destinations beyond the city. Both flanks had higher capacities than the north and west flanks as a result. Controversial from the outset, the scheme proposals were amended several times, with a number of public participation exercises carried out.


The south flank was projected as an elevated motorway, parallel to the River Clyde and adjacent to Wallace Street. It began on the Renfrew Motorway and continued eastwards to the proposed interchange with the Hamilton Motorway. In its original form it had a connection with the surface street system at Eglinton Street and was expected to be four lines wide in each direction. A second motorway crossing of the Clyde, eight lanes wide, was proposed immediately upstream of Albert Bridge. From here the route passed through Glasgow Green where it became the east flank.


The east flank continued the route towards Townhead Interchange. In its original form it was proposed to pass close to Saltmarket, Glasgow Cross and High Street. The proposal included junctions with George Street and at Cathedral Street, running at a minimum of eight lanes wide, with an extensive interchange with the M74 Hamilton Motorway within Glasgow Green. Although not proposing the demolition of culturally or historically important buildings, the public were not impressed. A number of protests followed, and Glasgow Corporation were forced to consider alternative proposals. Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Holfords produced several reports throughout the 1970s which sought to provide environmentally acceptable solutions. Cut and cover tunnels and a reduction in traffic lanes were proposed, but after 1980, the scheme was reduced in scale to nothing more than a motorway link between Townhead and London Road. Townhead Interchange was completed in two phases between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, however the section south was not taken forward.


In 2018 we'll be taking a detailed look at the various proposals and reports so stay tuned for those!