A SECTION of Scotland's busiest motorway that links the country to England has closed this weekend.

The M74 is closed in both directions between J4 Maryville and J5 Raith until Monday November 21.

The closure is for the safe demolition of Bothwellpark Road Bridge near Hamilton.

The work is part of an ongoing £500 million works programme to improve Scotland's motorway network.

Graeme Reid, project manager, said: "This is the most significant road closure we have implemented as part of the works and we are anticipating major delays on all approaches, the surrounding roads and the main diversion route.

"We are advising road users to plan their journey, avoid the area and surrounding local roads, and if possible, to use alternative modes of transport for the weekend.

"We fully appreciate the disruption this will cause. Together with our contractor (SRP), we have been liaising with key stakeholders including the emergency services and local authorities to minimise the disruption and complete these works as quickly as possible.

"However, we need road users to play their part by avoiding the area where possible and using alternative modes of transport to keep traffic levels on the diversion route to an absolute minimum."

The weekend closure will result in no access from the M73 to the M74 southbound at J4 Maryville or to the M74 northbound at J5 Raith.

Diversion routes are in place via the A725, A8 and the M73, although Transport Scotland is warning road users to expect major delays on all surrounding routes.

Drivers will continue to have access to the M74 southbound at J5 Raith and the M74 northbound at J4 Maryville and J3A Daldowie.

There will be no access to Bothwell Services from the M74 southbound.

The next available service area is the M74 southbound at J11 Happendon and J13 Abington.

In a bid to reduce congestion on alternative routes, South Lanarkshire Council has implemented parking restrictions on a short section of Main Street, Bothwell, for the duration of the weekend closure.

ScotRail is also providing extra carriages on trains on Lanarkshire railway services throughout the weekend.

More information on the closure can be found on the Traffic Scotland website here.