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M74 / M73 interchange
outside Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
M74 / M73 interchange
associated engineer
Babtie, Shaw & Morton
date  1963 - 1968
era  Modern  |  category  Road  |  reference  NS684619
ICE reference number  HEW 2497
photo  © and licensed for reuse under this
This was the first multi-level motorway interchange to be constructed in Scotland. It was built as part of the Hamilton Bypass and now links junction four of the M74 with junction one of the M73 at Maryville, east of Glasgow. The interchange was modified in the 1990s when the M74 was extended westwards.
It was not until the early 1960s that work commenced on upgrading Scotland’s major routes to motorway standard. In 1960 Lanarkshire County Council commissioned a full traffic survey of the Hamilton area, which showed that some 20,000 vehicles per day travelled through the town and predicted that this would increase to around 65,000 by 1980. A "special road" — the Hamilton Bypass — was recommended. Babtie Shaw & Morton were appointed project designers and construction began in 1963. The Scottish Development Department helped finance the scheme with a 75% grant.
The bypass was constructed in two parts. Stage I, extending 14.3km from Draffan north west to Hamilton, was one of Scotland’s first motorways. This is equivalent on the present M74 to the stretch from junction six to north of junction nine — the junctions were renumbered in 1986. The bypass had two lanes and a hard shoulder on each carriageway, and opened on 2nd December 1966.
Stage II, from Hamilton north west to Maryville was built with three lanes and a hard shoulder on either side of a central reservation. It was 7.5km long, running between junctions four and six on the present M74, and opened in two sections on 23rd May (J5-J6) and on 2nd August (J4-J5) 1968.
The M74 interchange is at today’s junction four. It connects the M74 to the M73, and has slip roads linking to the A74 and A721. When it opened, the interchange marked the western end of the motorway with a 270 degree loop and an overbridge to the Glasgow-bound A74.
Though the interchange structures were built 1965-8, it wasn't opened to northbound traffic until May 1971 when the initial section of the M73 was completed up to the M8 and A8 east of Baillieston.
The connection to the M73 has three levels — two skew bridges cross each other over the centreline of the M74. The lower bridge has four spans and the upper has six, ranging from 14.6m to 25m. The composite construction consists of a 230mm deep reinforced concrete deck slab over steel box girders, 460mm wide and 915mm deep, supported by reinforced concrete frames. The exception is the central support to the upper bridge, which overflies the lower bridge. This is a steel portal frame with raking legs constructed using steel box sections.
Ground conditions were particularly difficult for Stage II of the bypass, where the route followed low undeveloped ground near the River Clyde. In some places the ground had subsidedmore than 5m as a result of mining, and severe flooding was a frequent occurrence. Earthworks involved the disposal of large quantities of unsuitable material, including peat and soft silty clay. Fill material for the embankments had to be imported from around 40km away. Piled foundations were used widely in the poor ground.
The 270 degree loop on the interchange survived until 1993-4, but was demolished during construction of the M74's westbound section (J1-J4). Modifications were completed in January 1995, giving the interchange its present configuration.
Supervising engineer: J.S. McNeill (Chief Road Engineer, Scottish Devel. Dept.)
Contractor: Tarmac Civil Engineering Ltd
Earthworks: Dick Hampton
Earthworks: Cementation
Steelwork: Sire William Arroll & Co Ltd
Research: ECPK
"The Motorway Achievement" edited by Sir Peter Baldwin and Robert Baldwin,
Thomas Telford Ltd, London, 2004
reference sources   CEH SLB

M74 / M73 interchange