PLANS to cover the M8 at Charing Cross are taking a leap forward with a feasibility study into three projects.

The plans would see a cap at street level over the busy motorway which is sunk below the area around the Mitchell Library and Sauchiehall Street.

The construction of the M8 in the late 1960s and early 1970s led to the old Anderston district being demolished and the city centre effectively disconnected from the west of the city at Woodlands Road, and the area between Sauchiehall Street and St Vincent Street.

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The projects that will be looked into are designed to reconnect the city centre and Garnethill to the west end with a cap over the motorway with public spaces and reconfiguration of road space that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.

Project one will connect Sauchiehall street and Renfrew Street with St Georges Road and Woodlands Road, currently directly accessed only via a pedestrian flyover bridge.

Project two will “physically bridge the gap over the M8 at Charing Cross” with a cap between Sauchiehall street and Bath Street, linking Newton Street and North Street with a public space.

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Project three would see the area immediately outside the Mitchell Library redeveloped and a walkway over the M8 connecting with Charing Cross Station.

The City Council said the feasibility study would look at how the proposals could function and investigate costs, engineering options and traffic modelling.

A spokesman said: “While the idea of a cap over the M8 is only one of the proposals now entering the feasibility study stage, it does reflect our ambitions and priorities in putting people at the centre of the regeneration of the city centre.

“Considering how we can best create a district that is healthy and sustainable, with inviting public spaces and a transport network that is easy to get around for everyone, will help to create a thriving city centre.

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“The feasibility study will allow us to make an informed decision on the way forward for these proposals based on the costs and benefits, opportunities and challenges that face us as we look to develop the Charing Cross area.”

Images of the possible plans show the motorway covered over completely between Bath Street and Sauchiehall Street and also street level development further north towards Woodlands Road St Georges Road and the on ramp to the M8 eastbound.

It is expected the cap would reduce noise and air pollution at the area notorious for poor with tens of thousands of vehicles passing through the city on Scotland’s busiest motorway to and from the Kingston Bridge.

The council said: “The uncovered motorway cutting creates strong negative qualities of separation, noise and air pollution, while the three-lane slip roads on both sides discourage anyone from doing anything other than passing through quickly.”