The upgrade of junction 4a – halfway between the cities – is part of the £650 million Heartlands development on the site of a disused colliery at Whitburn which will see the creation of 2000 homes and a 1.5 million square foot business park, as well as retail and leisure facilities.
Ecosse Regeneration, which is behind the plans, said both lanes of the M8 would remain open in both directions at "peak times" but would be restricted to one lane each way at other times, with a contraflow in place.
Funding has been provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland for the project, which is said to be one of the biggest regeneration programmes in Europe and aims to create 4000 jobs. The M8 junction will provide the main access point to the site, which is expected to be completed in autumn 2013.
Planning permission was granted in January 2009 for the M8 works, which were planned in consultation with government agency Transport Scotland.
Minister for Transport, Keith Brown, said: "I am delighted to see work soon to begin on a new motorway junction on the M8 – the key route connecting Scotland's biggest cities, providing access to a major new residential and economic development."
A spokeswoman for the project said two lanes of traffic would remain open in both directions between 7am and 9.30am, and 3.30pm and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday, to accommodate rush-hour traffic.
Balfour Beatty is on site and is due to complete the upgrade in approximately 12 months, she added.
An 18-hole golf course is also planned as part of the Heartlands development.