The East Kilbride Expressway was constructed in 3 phases. This article relates to the first phase.
The first stage of the Expressway was built between Crossbasket and the Whirlies roundabout at East Kilbride. You would drive out of High Blantyre on to a fast road.
Built in 1966 and 1967, it cost over £600,000 at the time, a lofty sum by comparison to the original budget of £382,000.
This section of the Expressway was then and still is named officially as Hamilton Road, with the EK Expressway the official name of the future road that was to be built from High Blantyre to Raith.
In January 1967, stories were filtering to the press about escalating costs due to unforeseen ground conditions and construction behind, 2 months late.
Councillors spun stories about how the straight, modern road would negate the need of Stoneymeadow Road traffic, returning the Stomeymeadow Road back to having a more rural feel.
Mr John Adamson, the county roads engineer released progress updates to the press, staying in January 1967, “Road conditions have been worse than we anticipated” but he would not reveal the escalated cost sum and it was not known until completion.
During construction, instances of accidents on Stoneymeadow Road were as frequent as ever and the public in general looked forward to a more modern and direct route to East Kilbride, which avoided the traffic hazard of General’s Bridge.
This section eventually opened in April 1967. There is a wide tunnel under the Expressway at High Blantyre. The tunnel permits water coming off the upper Southern slopes of Blantyre to safely travel under the expressway heading back into the Calder on the northern side of the road.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
Pictured in 1971 is a great aerial photo showing how the completed first phase of the Expressway actually led straight into the B7012 road into High Blantyre! The more modern photo of the 1967 tunnel under the expressway was taken by Jim Brown in 2008.