There continues to be disagreement over the impact of the M74 extension exactly five years after the road opened.
Environmentalists say it has increased pollution in Rutherglen but supporters reckon it has attracted investment.
It was decades in the pipeline, cost nearly £ 700million and caused a major political argument for over a decade.
But in just five years, the M74 extension has become a familiar part of Rutherglen.
The road officially opened on June 28, 2011, with both opponents and supporters waiting with baited breath to see what impact it has had.
Those behind the road assured the Burgh it would create jobs, bring investment into the town and, crucially, help alleviate congestion and pollution on the Main Street.
However, those who opposed the plans said it would divide communities, actually create more pollution and potentially take business away from the Main Street. One such person was Susan Martin. She warned the road would invite more traffic into the Burgh, and she believes pollution level statistics have backed up her view.
Earlier this year, it was revealed pollution on Rutherglen Main Street had actually exceeded accepted levels every year since the road opened.
“People going to the motorway and coming from the motorway are causing more pollution,” she says.
“It’s actually added to the problem on the Main Street, and that’s not something that was sold to the people.
“More needs to be done to combat that. Obviously they have tried to bring in more cycle lanes but those are pretty poor.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna is even more scathing about the road: “Building new roads to tackle congestion is like putting extra notches in your belt to try and tackle obesity. Bigger roads such as the M74 encourage more people to take their cars, which ultimately leads to greater congestion and even more dangerous air pollution.”
South Lanarkshire Council’s Shirley Clelland, head of fleet and environmental services, concedes the impact on air pollution had not been as positive as they hoped.
She said: “The detailed assessment in 2013 showed that although air quality had improved significantly, some areas were still showing localised issues, particularly where buildings have created a ‘street canyon’ effect. Rutherglen is now an air quality management area and the aim will be to tackle localised air quality issues.”
One thing the road has done is improve Rutherglen’s links with places like Glasgow Airport.
We asked dozens of drivers their thoughts on the extension, almost all of whom said it had been a benefit.
The impact locally in terms of taking traffic is hard to judge, but in a wider sense it has led to reductions in traffic along the M8 according to official figures from Transport Scotland.
They also say there are 5,500 fewer vehicles on ‘local roads’ than before the extension opened.
South Lanarkshire Council are currently involved in an evaluation project with Glasgow City Council on the impact of the road.
Head of roads, Gordon Mackay insisted: “There has been a significant reduction in traffic levels on the local road network in and around Cambuslang and Rutherglen as a consequence of the M74 Completion Project. In addition, there are very obvious benefits in terms of substantially reduced journey times from South Lanarkshire to destinations west of Glasgow, particularly the airport.
“Notwithstanding this, as the economy begins to recover and new developments are built overall traffic levels are expected to gradually increase.
“It is therefore important that projects like Cathkin Relief Road deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements to ensure the road network in the Rutherglen area has the necessary capacity to accommodate these increases and support new development.”
Another mooted bonus of the road was economic regeneration, with the Scottish Government predicting it would help create 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Jim Clark, senior manager for communications at Clyde Gateway, is in no doubt the impact of the road has been positive.
“In the five years since the road opened there has been a remarkable change in an around the Rutherglen area,” he says.
“Developments like the Rutherglen Links wouldn’t be as attractive without the motorway links or the proximity to the junction.
“It has brought investment and jobs to the area and has delivered in terms of the economy.”
Transport Scotland are also confident the road has been a success.
A spokesman said: “It has brought many benefits for road users and locals including improved journey times and reduced traffic congestion on roads across Glasgow and South Lanarkshire including the busy M8 and some wellused local roads.
“The new road has also led to a marked reduction in the number of road accidents, improving safety for people travelling on it.”
Driving ambition Then transport secretary Alex Neil MSP surveys the new road at its official opening in 2011