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Springburn Expressway

Townhead to Auchinairn

Glasgow Motorway Archive - Springburn Expressway Map

The Springburn Expressway is a north to south route linking the northern districts of the city to the M8 Inner Ring Road at Townhead. It is numbered A803, a route linking Glasgow, Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch and Falkirk. Originally proposed in A Highway Plan for Glasgow, it was one of the later road schemes to be built, opening in phases between 1984 and 1990. It passes through what was once the historic centre of Springburn.


During planning and construction the scheme was known as “Springburn Road Realignment” and its route on the whole follows the original Springburn Road. The upgrade was a mixture of offline and online upgrade with the provision of upgraded mostly at-grade junctions and a grade separated interchange at Hawthorn Street.

North along the Springburn Expressway, Hawthorn Street (July 1984)

Construction of the mid-sections of the route required considerable demolition of property. This was carried out as part of Comprehensive Redevelopment Area works in the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s there were complaints about development "blight" whilst pockets of land were left empty for the future route. It remains one of the most controversial road schemes undertaken in post-war Glasgow.

An additional grade-separated junction was planned at Keppochhill Road, however this was scaled back due to local opposition. North of Auchinairn Road, the route becomes a wide single carriageway with two lanes in each direction. In the original plans, the northern end of the dual carriageway would have interchanged with the North Link Motorway. These plans were shelved in 1975. At the southern end of the route, it was intended that the Springburn Expressway would continue as the East Flank of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road.

Springburn Expressway Construction Summary



Opening Date

Springburn Road

Re-alignment Phase 1

Keppochhill Road To Hawthorn Street

July 1984

Townhead Interchange

Stages 2 & 3

Castle Street to Royston Road


Springburn Road

Re-alignment Phases 2&3

Townhead Interchange to Keppochhill Road

June 1990

Design of Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Springburn Road Re-alignment scheme, as well as the expansion of Townhead Interchange was undertaken by Strathclyde Regional Council. Lilley Construction completed the £13 million Phase 1 scheme as well as works at Townhead Interchange. The contractor on Phases 2 and 3 was Shanks and McEwan Ltd. and had construction value of £8.2 million. All works were completed by June 1990.

This article was first published in December 2020. Updated January 2023.

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