M74

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Unlike Route 66 and the N17, no-one has ever written a song about the M74, but there is time for that to change.

With the news that the proposed extension of the “motorway that goes nowhere” is to be built, and naturally that a variety of protest groups are up in arms at the decision (for some good reason), there is a chance for this dead-end of a motorway to grab a share of the spotlight and gain some notoriety.

For those not in the know, the M74 ends in a roundabout (hence the dead-end references) and is mainly used as a link from the M8 on the journey south to England. Before we moved to Hamilton, which sits on the M74, we used it a lot whilst travelling up from Aylesbury, so we know the way quite well.

Perhaps it’s time to break out the visual aids.

Our route on M74

The red dot is Hamilton. The green line is the current route for anyone travelling from the M74 onto the M8, up and round the back of Glasgow and on towards the west. As you can see the proposed extension will cut a large distance from the journey, not to mention avoiding the notorious Kingston Bridge altogether. For that reason, and the fact that the main reason we generally use the M8 is to travel past Glasgow, I think the proposed extension is a wonderful idea.

But then there is the pollution and impact on the environment to consider. One option would be a viable public transport alternative, except there already is one, the trains run from Hamilton through Glasgow to Balloch at Loch Lomond but we car users do like the comfort and flexibility of controlling our own travel times so that’s never really going to be an option for many.

What else to consider? Pollution, impact on the environment? More than three quarters of Scotland isn’t even inhabited. You want fresh air? Move to Auchtermuchty!

If I’m honest, the main thing that annoys me about this entire thing is the guilt tactics employed by the protest groups. I’m fully aware these things will have an impact on the environment but for my own selfish needs I WANT the extension built. It’ll knock about 15 minutes OFF the time it takes to drive through to Dumbarton, something we do every other weekend, and will also mean our car is emitting less and we’ll be using less fuel.

So, to appease my own inner demons, I guess what I really need to do is find where the balance between the impact cost of building the extension is “equalled” by lowering pollution and saving on fuel use. I feel a rough guess coming on… how about year 2063?

Well it’s either that or buy a bike…