Unseen archive photographs have been released to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Clyde Tunnel.
They show the construction of the crossing, aerial shots of the River Clyde, the streets around the tunnel after it was opened, inside the then modern interior of the complex, and a shot of the ferry crossing that ran vehicles over the river before the tunnel opened.
The crossing was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip on July 3, 1963.
Since then, the Clyde Tunnel has gone on to become a key part of Glasgow’s road network, carrying more than 25 million vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians every year. It continues to be the only road tunnel in Scotland.
The photographs, collated by the Scottish Roads Archive, capture the early tunnelling work undertaken by sixteen miners, work to install cladding, lighting and ventilation and early use of the tunnel.
The pictures also highlight changes to the landscape along the River Clyde since the tunnel opened.
Councillor Ruairi Kelly, City Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, hailed the achievements of the engineers who built the tunnel.
Councillor Kelly said: “Sixty years on, the Clyde Tunnel remains a stunning feat of engineering.
“The tunnel has been such fixture in the city’s roads network for so long, it is easy to overlook the incredible skill and commitment involved in its construction.
“The pictures that have been released highlight the significant challenges faced by those who built the tunnel.
“They are also a fascinating step back in time to a very different Glasgow.
The tunnel has been such fixture in the city’s roads network for so long, it is easy to overlook the incredible skill and commitment involved in its construction.
Councillor Ruairi Kelly
“The tunnel has now been an integral part of Glasgow’s road system for decades and is still unique within the national network.
“We monitor and maintain the tunnel on a 24-hour a day basis and we are investing substantial sums to ensure it remains operational for decades to come.”
Built at a cost of £10.5m – the equivalent of £180m in 2023 – the Clyde Tunnel was first proposed in 1945.
At the time, ferries across the Clyde were struggling to cope with the volume of traffic, but as the city’s docks were still in use, a new road bridge with enough clearance for ships was considered impractical.
Due to the limited space available on both banks of the River Clyde, the crossing was constructed with a 6% gradient, which made it the steepest highway tunnel in the world at the time.
Once complete, the tunnel was said to have a world leading control room. 65,000 vehicles now use the tunnel every day.
Stuart Baird of the Scottish Roads Archive said: “We're delighted to release these photos on the 60th anniversary of the Clyde Tunnel's completion.
“The tunnel has a fascinating history behind it and remains one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects ever constructed in Scotland. It's no surprise it's become such a well-loved landmark."
The Scottish Roads Archive has produced a booklet that contains further detail on the story of the tunnel and other exclusive pictures from the time the tunnel was built.
Unseen gallery: Clyde Tunnel
New lighting and CCTV has been installed in the tunnel and a further £3.45m will be invested in the tunnel by 2025 to improve features such as traffic control, ventilation and the information and alarm system.