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The Bishopton Bypass

M8 Motorway

M8 motorway, Bishopton Bypass - Aerial View eastbound along River Clyde - September 2023.

The four and a half mile long Bishopton Bypass was constructed in two stages. It is built to rural motorway standards and is the westernmost section of the M8 motorway. It provides a link to the Erskine Bridge via the M898. The M8 terminates at the western end of the bypass and continues as the all-purpose A8 dual carriageway.


An upgrade of the A8 Greenock Road to provide a bypass of Bishopton and a link to the Erskine Bridge was first outlined in a 1963 government White Paper. Early in the planning process it was assumed the route would be built as an all purpose dual carriageway. The decision to construct it as a motorway was made in the mid-1960s.

Key Data

Glasgow Motorway Archive - Location Graphic


Stage 1

M8 (J29a-30)

Stage 2

M8 (J30-31)

Glasgow Motorway Archive - Designer Graphic


Stages 1 & 2

Freeman Fox and


Glasgow Motorway Archive - Contractor Graphic


Stage 1

Whatlings CE Ltd

Stage 2

Tarmac Civil Eng. Ltd

Glasgow Motorway Archive - Calendar Graphic


Stage 1

27th December 1970

Stage 2

18th November 1975

Glasgow Motorway Archive - Money Graphic


Stage 1

£2.1 million

Stage 2

£4.4 million

Planning and Construction

The Bishopton Bypass connects the Renfrew Bypass to the A8 trunk road at West Ferry. Built as a two lane rural motorway with hard shoulders, the route is of fairly simple design and has very few structures. Construction of Stage 1 began in August 1968 having been let as part of the Erskine Bridge contract. The scope of Stage 1 was to provide a connection from the existing Renfrew Bypass to the A726 to the south of the planned toll plaza. The contract also included the construction of the three level interchange at Craigton as well as the M898 link road. The works allowed for eventual extension west, and it was anticipated that construction of Stage 2 would commence before completion of Stage 1. Both stages were designed and overseen by Freeman Fox and Partners on behalf of the Scottish Development Department. Stage 1 was constructed by Whatlings (Civil Engineering) Ltd. and cost £2.1 million, equivalent to almost £30 million today.

M8 motorway, Bishopton Bypass - View westbound from Bishopton - September 2023.

A long section of the Bishopton Bypass was built along the foreshore of the River Clyde. This reduced the need for costly acquisition of good quality agricultural land to the south of the motorway.

Construction of Stage 2 was delayed by a number of factors and finally began in October 1973. A considerable amount of time was spent trying to determine an appropriate line for the motorway. Local farmers were angered by plans to route the road through good quality agricultural land, and the decision by the Scottish Office to await the publication of a report into the future of the Clyde ports also resulted in delay. Eventually a route near to the shoreline of the River Clyde was chosen and this was taken through a Public Local Inquiry. The route was completed in November 1975, almost five years after the opening of Stage 1. Stage 2 was built by Tarmac Civil Engineering Ltd. and cost £4.4 million, equivalent to more than £30 million today.


The completion of the bypass reduced traffic through Bishopton by over 80%. Today the section between junctions 30 and 31 carries almost 30,000 vehicles every day.

M8 motorway, Bishopton Bypass at Junction 29a -  November 2019.

In 2019 a new junction was constructed on the M8 at Bishopton. A junction had previously existed in this location until the completion of the second stage of the Bishopton Bypass in 1975.

This article was first published in December 2020. Updated April 2024.

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