Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UK and US Road Developments to Ease Freight Congestion

Glasgow and Memphis Get New Roads
Shipping News Feature

SCOTLAND / TENNESSEE – Two new road developments - one about to open, the other just breaking ground – look to alleviate the problems of traffic congestion for the cities of Glasgow, Scotland and Memphis in Tennessee, which will help road freight operators with shipping transportation.

Glasgow today sees the opening of the new stretch of the M74 motorway from 7pm tonight. The new road, which is the second most expensive stretch of road-per-yard ever constructed in the UK at £75,000 ($120,000)/yard, runs for five miles from the existing M74 to the M8 and has come in with a total cost of £657m ($1.05 billion).

The great cost is down to the fact that much of the new motorway has had to been built on elevated causeway over the heart of Glasgow and has required extensive land purchases in expensive real estate.

However, the expense has not dimmed the views of supporters of the project. Scotland’s Infrastructure Secretary, Alex Neil said that:

“The M74 completion is the largest infrastructure project in Scotland. This will mean significant savings for Scottish taxpayers and also that drivers will be able to enjoy the benefits of this crucial piece of infrastructure months ahead of schedule.

“The new route will provide improved access to economic, employment and education opportunities for the people of Scotland. It will also bring enormous potential for further urban regeneration in the west of Scotland, many of which are already in development.”

The new road is expected to help clear the congestion problems that beset Glasgow with its current road structure.

Meanwhile, across the pond Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined state and local officials to break ground on I-269 in north Mississippi, a new interstate highway that will help connect communities in Mississippi to major shipping corridors.

The $19.5 million project (£12.2 million) - the largest highway project in Mississippi - will complete the beltway around Memphis, Tennessee, creating a 25-mile direct connection from the existing I-55/I-69 Interchange to the Tennessee state line and linking major freight routes in the region. The entire I-269 corridor is part of the 1,600-mile long I-69 corridor that will eventually connect Canada to Mexico through the United States.

 U.S. Secretary for Transportation, Ray LaHood, said that:

“This project will bring much needed economic development to northern Mississippi, putting people to work today building a highway that will support the region's economic development tomorrow. And a project like this generates an economic ripple effect as construction companies buy supplies and workers are able to spend paychecks in stores and restaurants.

“In addition to providing a boost to the local economy, the I-269 loop will also eventually reduce congestion and allow the freight that’s so essential to our economy to move more easily through the region.”