Warnings of severe disruption as COP26 gets underway
As Scotland prepares to host the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the demand on the transport network is expected to be unprecedented.
While many people across the country have already heeded warnings in the run up to the event, the impact on motorways and railways should not be underestimated.
With major road closures in place, further factors that will impact getting in and around the central belt include various protest activities – planned and unplanned - as well as non-COP26 related events such as bad weather, Halloween and major sporting fixtures.
Members of the public are therefore being urged to avoid any unnecessary travel, especially during the first few days of the conference.
Nicola Blaney, head of events resilience for Transport Scotland, said: “There will be severe disruption on our transport system and we therefore urge people to consider their travel plans very carefully.
“Across the network, we know certain dates are due to be much busier than others especially November 1, 2, 5 and 6. This weekend is also likely to be very heavily congested, and we need people to help us to avoid gridlock and crucially, leave space for key workers and emergency services to make essential journeys.
“We’ve been encouraging people to work from home as a way of reducing the risk of Covid – which would also help ease pressure on the transport network during the conference’s peak.”
Road closures are already in place for public safety with Glasgow’s Clydeside Expressway now fully closed till November 14.
The M8 will be subject to lane restrictions and road closures from 8pm on October 30 until 6am on November 15. The Tradeston M8 On-slip at West Street will be closed with no access to North Street/Charing Cross.
A signed diversion route will be in place from West Street to North Street, via Kingston Street, George V Bridge and the Broomielaw. Access to Bothwell Street from the M8 Eastbound at Junction 18 will remain open.
The public is advised to visit the Get Ready Glasgow website – www.getreadyglasgow.com - which provides all the travel details and will be regularly updated with all the latest information for commuters and businesses as well as details on alternative routes, local road closure dates and where local access will be maintained.
Further road restrictions which will come into effect next week include road closures from Monday November 1 around Argyle Street - one of the main diversion routes - because of a COP26 event. This will increase congestion and put additional strain on the road network.
Friday November 5 and Saturday November 6 are also expected to be extremely busy, due to planned climate change related marches going from Kelvingrove Park into the city centre and Glasgow Green.
Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins, said: “Our aim is to deliver a safe and secure event, whilst keeping the city, and indeed the country, operational and moving."