1978 Missing Underpass Lighting

Things didn’t get off to a great start when the central section of the A725 East Kilbride Expressway opened in 1978. At the new Auchinraith Roundabout new underpasses had been built, allowing pedestrians safe passage to the other side of the junction, without having to cross roads.

1978 EK Expressway 1 wm

Residents in Springwells complained right away noticing that as the nights were darker in October when it opened, there was a lack of lighting in the underpasses and people were afraid to walk through these new tunnels.

Fears of mugging hotspots arose quickly and members of the Tenants Association asked if something could be done to improve lighting. Part of the initial problem, was that even after only a week of opening, three primary street lights were broken by vandals, meaning that the area was darker that expected.

Then the worst thing happened. An elderly lady was mugged in the underpass with youths often jumping out in the dark to scare pedestrians. Plain clothes officers were drafted in to patrol the area and seek out any troublemakers. Meantime, the complaints were upheld. Following the street lighting repairs, the designers took the decision to install frequently spaced underpass lighting, choosing bright bulbs to make the paths feel safer.

Today, the paths are brightly illuminated and safe to walk on and it should be noted that 1978 was a particularly bad year for vandalism and disorder in Blantyre, thankfully now in the past. I’m always amazed speaking to the amount of people who tell me they’ve never walked in these underground paths, not because of safety, but simply because they didn’t need to , or didn’t even know they were there!

Pictured from my collection are the completed underpasses at the time of this story.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

John Cornfield This is the years when I was a teenager was it really that bad?
Blantyre Project Definitely some stories that year i didn’t want to tell. Extra police were drafted in to deal with disorder in Blantyre in 1978, but i think it was largely due to lack of amenities for kids to congregate in and the dereliction of Glasgow Road. After 1978, several new community centres sprang up around the town.
Ray Couston I was chased through them by neds when I was about 14 for simply walking past them at the entrance on the Industrial Estate side and keeping my head down.

I escaped up the steps into Timbertown. πŸ˜‚

I avoided the pedestrian underpass until I was working in the Industrial Estate a few years ago. Even then, I’d prefer to jump across the road and follow the mucky path by the roadside at night on my way back.

Mentally scarred for life! πŸ˜‚

Gary Doonin Walking out to John ogilvie high school hardly saw antbody use them they would walk on roads or the dirt which you can see the path made itself from this photo . Those underpasses were a haven for the glue brigade .
Donna Campbell Our playground during the 70’s, sad to say I knew the glue brigade 😩
MariΓ¨ Rodwell Iv lived up in the ind estate for over 26 years and not once have I used the underpass .. don’t know what’s waiting for u down there
Robert Henderson Chased from springwell up to kirkton those were the days
Raymond Henderson drank many a cargo down there growing up!…πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Kenny Weir Picture taken today, the trees across the road are not in the original, I remember getting cardboard from the “factories” and sliding down that Hill when we were wee

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature
Donna Campbell Best slide in the Tyre πŸ‘πŸ‘
Kenny Weir We had to make our own slide as the swing park at your mum’s was taken away to make way for the expressway πŸ‘
Blantyre Project Great comparison. Thanks Kenny. It shows what a green corridor the A725 has become. I think in a generation driving up the EK Expressway will feel very much like driving through a large tree lined avenue. They’ve grown massively in the last 10 years.
Kenny Weir They sure have πŸ‘
Michelle Evans There was always needles and paraphernalia.
I never once used the unsurpasses.
William Mullen got into a fight thre 79 polis came said i had an axe….it was my white stookie they seen wavin about………honest lol

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