IN 1956, Glasgow’s councillors were once again wrestling with the old problem of how best to relieve traffic on bridges in the city centre, especially the George V bridge. A bridge at Carnoustie Street and a tunnel between Whiteinch and Linthouse were in the pipeline, but neither had yet been built. Which is why the Corporation was now giving thought to repairing and reopening the vehicle tunnel under the Clyde at Finnieston, between Stobcross Quay and Prince’s Dock.

The Finnieston Harbour Tunnel consisted of three tunnels, two for vehicles and one for pedestrians (pictured); their construction between 1890 and 1893, and which cost £287,000, was the result of private enterprise. Elevators in shafts with inside diameters of 76ft raised and lowered vehicles.

After the Great War the harbour tunnel was sold to the Corporation. One account suggested that it was not a success and that the Corporation’s own nearby ferry provided considerable competition when it came to transporting vehicles across the river. For two decades the authority ran the tunnel but by 1943 the lifts were dilapidated; this was war-time, and money and materials were in short supply. The vehicle tunnel was closed but the pedestrian one continued to operate.

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Herald Diary

Bailie Robert Gray had recommended in 1953, to no avail, that vehicle tunnel be reopened. Now, in May 1956, he returned to the subject. It was wasteful, he said, that a city asset that was worth between £7 million and £8 million was not being used. There were several ways, he added, of building an approach to the vehicle tunnel so that it could take cars and thus lure traffic away from the congested city-centre bridges. An outside source had put the cost of bringing the tunnel back into use at £250,000.