Birds' Eye Views of Glasgow
- Upriver Towards Glasgow City Centre
In the foreground is the "Bell's Bridge". It is a "swing bridge" which can pivot at a central point to allow ships to pass. It was built as a temporary structure in 1988 to link the Garden Festival, south of the river, to the local train station at the Exhibition Centre on the north bank. The Glasgow Tower, Science Centre and IMAX cinema have been built on the site of that Festival.
The large crane on the north bank of the river at Finnieston is one of the reminders of the days when shipbuilding was a major industry and cargo ships sailed up the river to unload almost in the centre of Glasgow. The crane is 175ft high and the 152ft-long jib can carry 175 tons. It was used to load the many railay locomotives which were built in Glasgow for export around the world.
To the left of the Finnieston crane is the "Rotunda". Now a smart restaurant and casino, this was originally the start of three tunnels running under the river. Built at the end of the 19th century, two tunnels were for horse-drawn carts and one for pedestrians. The project proved to be a commercial disaster but the tunnel remained in use by pedestrians until 1980.
Further up the river is the Kingston Bridge which was built between 1067 and 1970. A massive engineering programme has just been completed here which involved raising the 50,000 tonnes of the bridge a few inches, replacing the old supports and lowering it back down onto these. The Kingston Bridge carries the main M8 Motorway (which runs from Greenock to Edinburgh) and is the only motorway in Britain which passes through a city rather than round it. It is officially the busiest river crossing anywhere in Europe with over 170,000 vehicles passing over it each day.
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