Safety fears over unlit M8 and M74 motorways

Concern has been raised about unlit motorways. Picture; John Devlin
Concern has been raised about unlit motorways. Picture; John Devlin
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Safety experts have challenged the decision to remove lighting from some of Scotland’s busiest motorways under new upgrade plans.

Decades after the road was fully lit to improve safety, sections of the M74 are now dark.

The M8 link between Edinburgh and Glasgow has no lights except at the main junctions, despite the A8 being fully lit.

Experts have now called for Transport Scotland to prove that removing lights on such roads was safe.

Neil Greg of IAM Roadsmart, formerly, the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “It wasn’t clear from the original plan what was going to happen.

It was fairly late on before people cottoned on to the fact that roads weren’t going to be fully lit.

READ MORE: Jobs at risk in new round of cuts at M8 motorway maintenance firm

“In an ideal scenario we’d like to have lit motorways.

“There have been experiments with switching off the lights on English motorways and these have shown no effect on safety, but these tend to be done on fairly quiet motorways whereas the M74 and M8 are exceptionally busy.

“I would urge Transport Scotland to do an in-depth major study.

READ MORE: Three-lane motorway for M8’s missing link

“It just needs one crash to show that the lights would pay for themselves.”

Additional lanes were added to the M74, M8 and M73 to east journey times, however, industry sources claim that missing lights on the M74 has created one of the only eight-lane motorways without lights.

Transport Scotland said: “The M8, M73, M74 motorway improvements project includes significant capacity and safety improvements work across the central Scotland motorway network.

“The lighting is designed in accordance with current design standards which includes lighting at junctions and their approaches.”