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Subject: SchNEWS 501, Friday 10th June, 2005
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 18:17:18 +0100

M74 Northern Extension update - June 2005


"You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" - Duncan Tannahill, former Chief executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

"Why is it the same peoples' eggs are always getting broken?" - Local resident.

Just when you thought those crackpot road planners couldn't get any barmier, they totally surprise us and suddenly do. Big style.

Imagine a 100 foot-wide 6 lane motorway, 40 foot up in the air on concrete stilts with 13 bridges, viaducts, embankments and cuttings. Sounds minging? It gets worse. Now, consider that this new six mile motorway will bulldoze into a huge part of a community, destroying historic buildings, homes and businesses, and be built on a site that is rife with buried lethal toxic waste and contaminants. Sound like something out of a post apocalyptic sci-fi mega city? Well it ain't.

Welcome to the M74 Northern Extension. Clocking in at up to £1 billion it's the most expensive road infrastructure so far and is coming to Glasgow very soon. This wonderful feat of engineering will save a whopping five minutes off commuting time! Now that's value for money...

The road was conceived in the 1960's on a bad acid trip with a vision of 75 miles of motorway through Glasgow to relieve congestion and aid economic development. Forward 40 years and the planners still haven't recovered from their paranoid delusions. An official enquiry gave the road the thumbs down cos it would increase traffic congestion, damage local communities and was unlikely to create new jobs. Despite all that the road was given the go ahead the day the report came out!


SchNEWS has a sense of déjà vu about this scheme - peoples lives and communities shafted for the sake of economic growth. The road cutting through a poor area will mainly serve big businesses in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, making Glasgow a "drive-though city", as one resident put it. And considering that 59% of Glaswegians don't own a car, it's obvious that the motorway is geared toward commuters rather than helping out the community with better public transport.

Locals aren't too impressed with this waste of money trashing their community, one telling SchNEWS, "there is not enough money to keep our local swimming pools open but... there is enough money to poison us... and to drive a big motorway full of pollutants through peoples areas." It was a similar story with the M77 that was pushed through nearby Pollok in 1995, leaving communities destroyed and the traffic congestion still just as bad. (See SchNEWS 15)


The proposed route of the road through Rotherglen will require digging down 30ft into the ground to support the massive stilts the road is to run on. It crosses the site of an old chemical works. Former worker, Monty Borthwick, said that it was like "disturbing a sleeping giant." The list of chemicals that are still under the ground include asbestos, chromium, arsenic, lead, lime and a heady cocktail of other mind and body altering substances. Monty goes on to say in his day there were three thousand workers there and all the ones he knew "died of cancer!"

If this toxic cocktail is brought to the surface the chromium down there would create a lethal dust cloud that would sweep over Glasgow. Protective suits will be provided for construction workers, but not for local residents. This led campaign group JAM74 to don their own protective suits and invade the council offices last year. They spread "toxic waste" (a harmless mix of porridge and compost) over the desks of the architects of this death trap. The coalition JAM74 have pledged to take direct action and 'beat the bulldozers' if the building starts.

More info - JAM74, PO Box 3751, Glasgow, G42 2AL

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