Pictured here in 1999 just before it opened, is the current David Livingstone Bridge, near the David Livingstone Memorial Centre. Photographed by Robert Stewart.
The bridge previous to this wasn’t of the best construction. Indeed, so many shortcuts were taken on it’s construction, that by the 1990′s it was deemed unsafe and was eventually replaced by this current bridge, the third bridge along this stretch of the River Clyde. The 1952 bridge fell into disrepair, after years of neglect, which was caused by a dispute between Hamilton District Council and Strathclyde Council about who was to repair and maintain it. The bridge was eventually declared unsafe due to deterioration caused by rust. When the bridge was demolished in May 1999, it was found after cutting down the main supports of the bridge that they could still not pull it down. The attempt was abandoned until the next day when welders arrived to burn the metal. Two heavy machines, either side of the river pulled simultaneously on heavy cables attached to the main supports to topple the whole structure. Construction began of the next bridge almost right away.
The present bridge opened on 18th October 1999, ready for the Millennium. Blantyre historian, the late Neil Gordon was honored to be the first to cross the bridge commenting “at time, there were no side rails and I suppose it was quite dangerous, but i found it an exhilarating experience”.
To see how the bridge is holding up, I took a photo for comparison in late 2014. I have to say in 15 years, it could probably do now with a lick of paint!