Cop26 road closures: Congestion maps show how Glasgow travel will be 'significantly impacted'

The expected major disruption to travel in Glasgow during the Cop26 conference is vividly illustrated in maps which show much of the city at risk of congestion on the busiest days.

The stark graphics follow police warning protesters not to block the motorways, which could make travel delays even worse during the event from October 31 to November 12.

Home insulation campaigners Insulate Britain, who halted traffic on the M25 twice this week, have told The Scotsman they also plan to “head north of the Border”.

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GetReadyGlasgow, which is co-ordinating travel information, warned: “Based on experience from previous Cops, there is a risk that unofficial fringe activity could occur which could cause further disruption to Glasgow’s transport network”.

The red lines show motorways "significantly busier than usual" while the pink shaded areas show the peak of the congestion risk on Saturday November 6. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

Other events in the city could put further pressure on travel, such as the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Ross County at Ibrox at 3pm on Sunday November 7.

A total of 25,000 people are expected to attend the United Nations conference at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), west of the city centre, with up to 14,000 there at one time.

GetReadyGlasgow said the event’s scale was “unprecedented in the UK” with nearly 200 nations and 120 heads of state due to attend.

The M8, M80, M74 and M77 motorways through and beyond the city are predicted to be “significantly busier than usual”.

The Clydeside Expressway and surrounding closed roads are shown in red with alternative routes in purple. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

Tailbacks are expected to be lengthened by the closure of the A814 Clydeside Expressway, a major route into the city centre along the north side of the river past the SEC, for security reasons.

The dual carriageway will be shut from 9pm on Saturday October 23 – a week before the conference starts – until 6am on Monday November 15.

In addition, M8 congestion "may be more severe than usual” because of repairs to a motorway viaduct at Woodside, near junction 17 just north of the city centre, with the four lanes in each direction remaining reduced to two for safety.

Work has been delayed by complications and Brexit-related supply problems, and cannot be completed in time for Cop26.

Roads between the SEC and M8 to be closed during Cop26. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

The Clyde Tunnel, which is already a frequent traffic bottleneck, is also expected to be busier than usual.

Increased queueing and delays are also expected on the M8 westbound at the junction 25 off-ramp to the tunnel, and from traffic approaching the motorway from the tunnel – a key access road to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Cop26-related disruption is expected to reach its peak on Saturday November 6 when some 100,000 people are forecast to take part in a mass protest rally in the city centre.

The maps show the congestion risk that day extending from the city centre as far as Anniesland and Maryhill in the west and north, Cardonald, Pollokshields and Govanhill on the south side and Dalmarnock in the east end.

The A814 Clydeside Expressway will be closed as far west as Partick during Cop26. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

The area around the SEC is expected to be at its busiest on Monday November 1, when people living and working in the neighbouring Finnieston, Kelvingrove and Yorkhill areas are likely to experience “significant disruption” to travel.

Congress Road, which links the SEC to the adjacent Crowne Plaza hotel, will be closed from Sunday October 10 to Wednesday November 17.

Other roads in and around the SEC – Congress Way, Finnieston Quay, Tunnel Street and Stobcross Road – will be closed from Sunday October 24 to Sunday November 21.

Finnieston Street, which links the expressway and Clyde Arc, will be shut from Thursday October 28 to Monday November 15, with local access only from Saturday October 23.

Other roads between the SEC and the M8 – Elliot Street, Lancefield Street, Hydepark Street, Whitehall Street, Warroch Street and Cheapside Street – will be restricted to local access only from Thursday October 28 to Saturday November 13.

The Clyde Arc or “Squinty Bridge” will be restricted to buses, cycles and pedestrians from Sunday October 24 to Monday November 15.

Roads around the SEC to be closed during Cop26, with the Clyde Arc or "Squinty Bridge" restricted to buses, cycles and pedestrians. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

Lancefield Quay, to the east, will be closed for the same period.

Castlebank Street, south of the expressway in Partick, will be shut from October 24 to November 21, with restrictions from Sunday October 17.

A transport plan for Cop26 published by Transport Scotland stated: “Due to the scale and complexity of the event, which includes one of the largest gatherings of world leaders and alongside planned protest by climate activists, we will experience significant disruption to our travel.

“Whether you are attending Cop26 events, commuting to work, or simply visiting Scotland, your travel will be significantly impacted.

“The scale of the event is unprecedented in terms of scale and impact on the transport network.

“The nature of the event and the likely activists it will attract indicate that transport disruption is highly likely.”

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Cop26: Police Scotland warn protesters not to block M8

Part of the National Cycle Network along the north bank of the Clyde will be closed between Partick and the Clyde Arc, along with the covered pedestrian/cycle bridge between the SEC and Exhibition Centre station.

Campaigners GoBike said the route was used by thousands of people a day and called for safe, segregated diversion routes.

Its campaigns lead, Iona Shepherd, said “Closing Glasgow’s busiest active travel route during a climate conference is beyond counter productive to the whole aim of the conference itself.”

Trains are expected to be much busier than usual, especially on services into Glasgow in the morning peak.

Extra late night trains will operate on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow route throughout the conference.

ScotRail has yet to announce details, along with plans for additional services and/or longer trains on other lines such as to Exhibition Centre station beside the SEC.

The Glasgow Subway will operate beyond its normal early evening Sunday closure on October 31 and November 7, with more frequent trains running on other days if required.

Electric shuttle buses will run between 6am and midnight to transport Cop26 delegates between the city centre and SEC.

Some 30,000 travel smartcards will be issued to delegates and other visitors for use on buses, trains and the Subway.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “Avoid the whole area, but if you have to travel through Glasgow, make sure you factor in a lot of extra time.

“The biggest issue will be closure of the Clydeside Expressway for three weeks.

"This seems particularly onerous given it will start seven days before the conference begins.

"Traffic diverted on to the already busy M8 will lead to long delays and traffic trying to find a way along Dumbarton Road and Great Western Road will inevitably lead to extra problems.

"It is vital that roadworks and other temporary closures are kept to a minimum.”

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Cycle path closures are shown in red with alternative routes in blue. Picture: GetReadyGlasgow

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