It has been dubbed the “street in the sky” and promises to transform an area of Glasgow better known for slab tower blocks.

Work is set to begin on a unique, hourglass-shaped bridge connecting the north and south of the city over the M8, sparking hopes of a jobs boom while the battle to recover from Covid-19 continues.

As part of the plan, a section of the motorway, Scotland’s busiest road, will close for a 12-hour period from 10pm on Saturday (August 1). This will allow teams to move in and demolish an existing footbridge which is in an advanced state of deterioration.

The new crossing is being delivered as part of the £250 million regeneration of Sighthill. Considered the biggest such project in the UK outside of London, it will see the creation of a community with hundreds of homes, shops, a public square and a park. A school campus has already opened.

City bosses said the bridge - due to be completed in late 2021 - would feature landscaping, wing walls and ramps on both the northern and southern approaches. These will form new civic spaces allowing free-flowing movement for cyclists and pedestrians.

Designs also include parapets which provide views across the city skyline yet obscure direct lines of sight down to the motorway.

The latest progress has been hailed by Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council.

She said: “The landmark new pedestrian and cyclist bridge to be built over the M8 will not only connect Sighthill to the nearby city centre, with George Square less than 15 minutes’ walk away, but will also act as a symbol for a revitalised Glasgow community.

“For far too long, Sighthill was closed off from the rest of the city - physically, socially and economically.

“We are now opening it up, not only to the city centre - but its surrounding neighbourhoods in North Glasgow; some of which, such as Cowlairs, Dundashill, Hamiltonhill and Ruchill along the canal corridor, will also play a key part in our economic recovery as they too are regenerated in the coming years, bringing thousands of new jobs and homes to the city.”

The bridge span will be just over 58 metres (191 feet) with a width that varies between 20 and 7.5 metres. Its maintenance requirement will be minimal and painting will not be needed, meaning reduced disruption for traffic using the road below.

Ms Aitken said the crossing would bring multiple benefits to the city and its people.

“At Sighthill, the new bridge will deliver great connectivity, forming a gateway to and from North Glasgow, Sighthill and the city centre, and will form a key part of our active travel network,” she added.

“While the bridge will undoubtedly become an emblem of the regenerated Sighthill, the work ongoing there has already delivered a new community campus and remediated land.

“A new road bridge over the Glasgow-Edinburgh railway line is improving access to Sighthill and neighbouring communities and, when complete, the project will have delivered almost 1000 new homes, new greenspace and parkland, new shops and businesses, as well as a beautiful new public square and canal terrace for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Business leaders have also welcomed fresh progress towards making the bridge a reality, describing it as a “symbol” of the economic revival which has been happening in north Glasgow.

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "For too long the M8 has separated the north of Glasgow from the city centre, and this new bridge is all about allowing connectivity between the new community in Sighthill and the heart of Glasgow.”

He added: "In many ways the bridge is a symbol of the ongoing rebirth of the economy in the north of the city, following on from the admirable regeneration work of Scottish Canals on sites around the Forth & Clyde Canal."

The crossing is being financed through the Glasgow Region City Deal – a £1 billion package, jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments, which is also supporting some of the other work taking place across Sighthill.

The main project partners in the regeneration project are Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and the Scottish Government.