Forth Road Bridge work rekindles memories of construction in the 1960s

Forth Road Bridge under construction
Forth Road Bridge under construction
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THE scale of the new Forth Replacement Crossing started to become evident this week as the first towering parts of the span’s foundations were lowered into place.

The gigantic steel plinths were moved by cranes on to Beamer Rock, which will be one of the main supports for the new bridge. And the images inevitably recalled the huge construction effort that went into creating the Forth Road Bridge, which the new crossing is designed to replace.

The scenes in South Queensferry in late 1959 showed the tremendous scale of the bridge, with the two main towers out in the choppy waters of the Forth already completed. Workers endured tough conditions as they carried out necessary tasks, such as laying asphalt on the anchorage blocks to act as waterproofing.

And there was a last chance for engineers to inspect the miles of steel cables which would eventually form the main anchorage for the suspension bridge, as they were coiled up during construction.

Workmen needed a good head for heights in 1962 as they installed the suspenders from which the bridge hangs, and in 1964 the bridge was finished, ready for inspection. The iconic structure was opened by the Queen on September 4, and soon after the first toll-paying passengers made their way across the Forth.