An upgraded route along this corridor was proposed in various plans with the A80 route dualled in the early 1960s to service Cumbernauld New Town. A motorway link was first outlined as the Stirling Motorway in “A Highway Plan for Glasgow” which was published in 1965. Today's route follows a very similar line to those put forward in the plans, however there are considerable changes north of Mollinsburn where a route through the Kelvin Valley was recommended.
The Stirling Motorway was also intended to interchange with the North Link Motorway near the current J2 at Robroyston and continue southwards through its present southern terminus with the M8 as the East Link Motorway. For more details on the Stirling Motorway proposals visit the Great Unbuilt page.
On the completion of the M8 Monkland Motorway Stage 1, traffic travelling northeastwards left the motorway at Cumbernauld Road and used the A80. This route passed through the districts of Millerston and Stepps before heading towards Moodiesburn and Cumbernauld. As traffic levels increased Strathclyde Regional Council devised plans to construct the Stepps Bypass almost exactly as outlined within a Highway Plan for Glasgow.
The plans outlined a 7.2km urban dual two lane motorway with hard shoulders connecting with the M8 at Provan. It would feature full overhead Glasgow-style gantries with integrated CITRAC traffic control system that would convey traffic information in keeping with the rest of the urban motorway network. While it would start on a large fork junction on the M8 with northfacing only slips, a local access junction was also provided to allow southbound M80 traffic access to the east end of the city. The plans allowed for M8 westbound traffic to access the M80 northbound albeit through a series of at-grade movements. A pre-existing slip road which allowed access to the M8 westbound from Provan Road was closed when the new motorway open to reduce weaving of traffic.
The construction contract valued at £22.5 Million was awarded to Tarmac Construction Ltd in October 1989 with the Stepps Bypass opening to traffic on June 8th 1992.
Advanced works were carried out on the M8 to ensure traffic would continue to flow when the route opened. The M8 between Provan at J13 and Townhead at J15 was widened from 4 to 5 running lanes in each direction by removing the hard shoulder. A number of emergency laybys and new sign gantries were also constructed. This was to ensure that both routes could cater for increased traffic demands and to allow a smoother merge for M80 traffic joining the M8.
To the north of Provan the M80 passes beneath the Cumbernauld railway line. The railway is carried on an impressive grey steel bridge that was constructed by British Rail in advance of the main motorway works. It remains one of the most iconic sights on the route and was the most expensive structure built along the entire route.
The route has a 50mph speed limit between Provan and Robroyston despite being built to 70mph standards. Next the M80 interchanges with the B765 at a dumbbell style junction which provides local access to Robroyston and Bishopbriggs. Past this junction the M80 now has a 70mph limit but until 2011 turned a tight corner at Hornshill heading southbound to terminate on Crowwood Roundabout. From here it continued northwards via the A80 dual carriageway.
The M80 was always intended to be extended northward to provide a further bypass of Moodiesburn and Muirhead meaning the tight bend was always a temporary teminus. Some dead area carriageway was visible on the ground and remained in place until the M80 Completion scheme was completed in 2011. The Stepps Bypass terminus allowed for a connection to a Kelvin Valley extension or an online upgrade of the existing A80.
The Stepps Bypass scheme was promoted by Strathclyde Regional Council and the Scottish Office with capital funding coming from both parties. Grant assistance was also received from the European Regional Development Fund. All in the scheme cost over £25 million when the costs of the advanced railways contract were included.
The M80 Motorway connects Glasgow with Stirlingshire, Falkirk and the Grangemouth industrial areas. Running to 25 miles in length, the road has a fragmented construction history which spanned four decades.
The M80 travels through the north of Glasgow bypassing Robroyston, Stepps, Bishopbriggs & Moodiesburn. Further north the route passes close to Cumbernauld and is joined by the M73 and the A80 dual carriageway. The first stage of the route to be completed was the Denny Bypass, followed in 1992 by the Stepps Bypass. The motorway was completed in 2011 when an online upgrade of the A80 was constructed.
LOCATION: The M80 motorway links the M8 at J13 with the M9 at Pirnhall. It was built in three stages which are detailed below.
Completed: May 22nd 1974
Designer: Stirling County Council
Contractor: Balfour Beatty
M80 STEPPS TO HAGGS:
Completed: Autumn 2011 - no formal completion date announced
Contractor: HMG Scotland (also maintenance contractor until 2038)
Cost: £320 million
LENGTH: 25 miles overall
M80 STEPPS BYPASS
Completed: June 8th 1992
Designer: Strathclyde Regional Council
Contractor: Tarmac Construction Ltd.
Cost: £22.5 million (£45 million in 2017)
In October 1964 a dual carriageway bypass of Denny from Haggs to Ingleston was opened to traffic and was numbered A80. This remained the case until the opening of the M80 from Ingleston to Pirnhall on May 22nd 1974.
At this time the Denny Bypass was converted to motorway standard by removing at-grade junctions and providing hard shoulders. This work was undertaken by Balfour Beatty on a design by Stirlingshire County Council.
The railway bridge to the north of Provan has become an iconic part of the M80 Stepps Bypass. On approach it gives the apperance of being of rather low height. This image is from early 1992 and before the route opened to traffic.
On the right Robroyston junction is pictured before scheme completion. The area to the west has been extensively developed in recent years with several retail units and hundreds of houses constructed.