IT cost £445m, stretches for five miles and today (Wednesday) celebrates its first birthday.
It’s the M74 extension, and 12 months after the first cars rolled onto it, the road has almost unanimously be declared a success for the people of Rutherglen.
The history of the extension stretches far earlier than 2005, when the project was finally given the green light, and for decades had split opinion in the Rutherglen area.
But it seems now that the road is actually here, many of the arguments against it have quietened, although they haven’t disappeared completely.
On the whole, Ruglonians seem to have given the road a thumbs-up. Traffic congestion has been cut, passing trade hasn’t been affected and the town now has faster links with the rest of Scotland.
According to the likes of Clyde Gateway, the road has helped attract jobs to the area and will continue to do so as the area around it is developed further.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the road’s impact is the proposed TWO74 complex, which will be adjacent to junction two near Farme Cross and will include a cinema, retail units and a hotel.
Rutherglen MSP James Kelly said: “The road’s been a big success. The feedback I have had from people in the area is the road has brought real benefits.
“In terms of congestion, although I’m not sure of the statistics, the feeling is that traffic through the Main Street is not as heavy as it was, and that should be welcomed.
“Overall, there have been big benefits and I think that will continue as time goes on and businesses relocate to the side of the road at the on-ramps.
“If you have more businesses here then that means more people in the area. If you stand at Cambuslang train station in the morning you see all these people getting off and heading for their work near the motorway so they will visit local shops. You’ll see the same in Rutherglen.”
There is little doubt the motorway will play an integral role in the regeneration of Rutherglen over the coming years.
The Clyde Gateway project are on record as saying their job would be impossible without the extension, while the road has made travel to places such as Glasgow Airport easier.
The Reformer made a run to the airport last year, not long after the road opened, and it took just over 15 minutes to get from the centre of Rutherglen to the Terminal.
A similar run last week produced a similar result, suggesting that time hasn’t had any great detrimental impact on the road’s impact.
But at a more local level, there appears to be a general acceptance that the road has been of benefit to people living in the wider Rutherglen area.
Drivers speak of the ease with which they can access the motorway while pedestrians are happy to say goodbye to the huge lorries who used the Main Street to get to various parts of Glasgow and beyond.
In fact, according to South Lanarkshire Council traffic on the Main Street has been cut by 29 per cent while traffic on Glasgow Road is down by 20 per cent.
While there were concerns the road might mean a drop in passing trade, local businesses say that simply isn’t the case, with parking restrictions on the Main Street having a bigger impact.
Unsurprisingly, the bodies behind the project have hailed the first year of the extension as an overwhelming success.
Transport Scotland say there have been reductions of up to 26,000 vehicles a day on the M8 between Ballieston and Charing Cross and 16,000 from the Kingston Bridge, as well as 19,500 from the Main Street.
South Lanarkshire Council were equally fulsome in their praise.
A spokesman said this week: “The road has been a major boost to the economic prospects of this part of South Lanarkshire by improving the visibility and accessibility of a range of development sites around Shawfield and Farme Cross.
“Clyde Gateway URC, working with the council, are progressing with ambitious development plans for these areas to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the M74 extension.”
But there are still people who remain unconvinced with the road and feel the money could have been spent elsewhere.
Susan Martin of the local Green Party was an opponent at the time and while she concedes the impact hasn’t been a bad as she feared, she still has concerns.
She said: “The general agreement, especially among car owners, is that it has been a good thing but I still think the money could have been better spent improving transport links with places such as the Southern General. If you don’t have a car, how can you get there?
“It’s not as bad as we thought but it still cuts the likes of Farme Cross off from the Main Street, especially at night. It’s not people-friendly.”
Susan also referred to a lack of cycle routes in the area, as well as reports that the road was subsiding in places.
Other complaints centre around the speed limit on the road and accusations that traffic cops are trying to trap drivers when they arrive on the extension.
But these grumbles have been crowded out by plaudits over the past year. The road has picked up numerous awards and seems to have delivered most of its promised benefits.
And as it moves into its second year, the M74 extension has become another Rutherglen landmark. Perhaps in 20 years’ time, everyone will wonder what the fuss was about in the first place.