Long-awaited work to create a new £2.8 million motorway interchange has finally shifted into high gear.
Work on two 500 metre-long slip roads on the M876 near Glenbervie in Larbert is due to begin on March 5 and expected to be completed by the end of August.
The journey to bring the improvements began a number of years ago when the scheme was identified as a local road improvement priority after it was decided to build Forth Valley Royal Hospital on the former Royal Scottish National Hospital site.
Proposals to upgrade the junction between the A9 and M876 to a four-way interchange were given the go-ahead after a public local inquiry in 2008.
Four years on, members of Falkirk Council’s policy and resources committee, meeting on Tuesday, agreed to approve the project, backing Glasgow-based RJ McLeod Ltd’s £1.7 million tender for the work.
Council leader Craig Martin said: “It took a long time to come to fruition, but the majority of issues involved were outwith the control of the council.
“This project will improve our transport infrastructure and increase economic development opportunities across the area.
“It will also bring associated environmental and road safety improvements, improve access to local towns such as Stenhousemuir and Larbert and the adjacent development site at Glenbervie.
“By the end of the year people will see a big difference in that area.”
The £2.8 million scheme is being funded by Falkirk Council, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise - with the government contributing the majority of the costs and Falkirk Council, which procured the contract, responsible for managing the project.
Construction of the new slip roads from the A9 to the M876 east of junction two will provide direct access to and from Edinburgh - currently junction two only provides access to and from Glasgow.
Welcoming the move Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said: “I’m delighted to announce another significant sum invested which will help support local jobs and deliver a major road improvement for users in Central Scotland.
“As a government we are absolutely committed to developing our road infrastructure to support economic growth.”