A potential life-saving motorway link to Central Region’s major hospital has opened.
As well as taking traffic away from the local A88 and A905 routes, the two new slip roads connecting the east and west carriageways of the M876 to a new roundabout on the A9 at Glenbervie in Larbert will provide a quicker route to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
The £2.8 million partnership project with Falkirk Council, Transport Scotland and Scottish Enterprise was completed last Friday.
It will allow vehicles direct access off the M876 to NHS Forth Valley’s showpiece £300 million facility less than a mile away.
The leader of Falkirk Council, Councillor Craig Martin, said: “This will undoubtedly help with access to the hospital and other local amenities and bring many benefits to the area in terms of the economy, environment and tourism. Thanks to the project there are also a number of new road safety measures being introduced on the A9 including a new footway, pedestrian crossing and an extension of the 40 mph speed limit on the north side.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown claimed: “I’m delighted the final elements are in place to allow the scheme to open to traffic on budget and ahead of schedule. The Scottish Government was pleased to meet nearly two thirds of the overall cost which will deliver a major road improvement for users in Central Scotland and help support local jobs.
“The upgrade to a four way interchange will improve accessibility to the M876 and M9 motorways, the Clackmannanshire Bridge and the Larbert area. Road users will soon feel all the benefits the improvements will bring - in particular by providing better and faster access to and from Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
“As a government we are committed to developing our road infrastructure to help support jobs and act as a catalyst for economic growth. This scheme builds on investment which will ensure our transport infrastructure is fit for purpose for years to come.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service welcomed the new link. A spokesman said: “The new slip roads will allow faster access to the hospital from the motorway which will benefit patients with life-threatening injuries.”
A NHS Forth Valley spokeswoman said: “The opening of the new road will improve access to Forth Valley Royal Hospital and means travellers from Grangemouth can use the motorway door to door.”