This year the Clyde Tunnel celebrates its 50th birthday and to help celebrate Glasgow City Council are holding an open day on Sunday 7th July.ClydeTunnel_50years

The tunnel officially opened on 3rd July 1963 and there will also be a special invite only event on Wednesday 3rd July.

The Clyde Tunnel links north and south Glasgow with an average of 65,000 vehicles per day travelling through it, making it a key part of the transport network within not only Glasgow but also West Scotland.

The public open day will take place on the Sunday 7th July offering tours, which must be pre-booked, exploring the workings of the Tunnel as well as information on the construction of this amazing structure.

One side of the tunnel will be closed off to traffic to allow people to walk through the tunnel and there will also be a range of vintage motor vehicles on display in the tunnel. For information on how to get involved at the open day, please contact the Council using the email address: lescommunications@glasgow.gov.uk Please note that the tours are now fully booked.

The half-mile-long crossing between Whiteinch and Govan carries 65,000 vehicles a day – as many as the Forth Road Bridge. It was also the world’s steepest ClydeTunnel_CrossSectiontunnel when built, with a 1:16 gradient so that the carriageways would connect with surrounding streets such as Dumbarton Road.

A popular game amongst local children, and some adults, is attempting to hold one’s breath for the duration of the journey through the Clyde Tunnel. This is possible due to the short length of the tunnel – a car travelling at the 30 miles per hour limit takes 57 seconds to pass through, and at off peak times traffic is often flowing at around 40 mph (a transit duration of 42 seconds). Success is hampered by snarlups (particularly at the interchange on the north end) slowing traffic.

HYB_LogoLocal resident Kathy Friend, created holdyourbreath.org website about the tunnel back in 2006, named after the age-old challenge, said “Each time I drive through the Clyde Tunnel, I feel that this local landmark and triumph of engineering is one of the most ugly and unloved parts of the city. Every day, thousands of people use it, and it has no uplifting qualities whatsoever. Basically, its grim, and Glaswegians deserve better. ‘HoldyourBreath’ wants to turn the Clyde Tunnel into a ‘pocket of delight’ for all who travel in her.”

Interesting Facts

  • 1947 – Glasgow Corporation Planning for the tunnel began
  • Construction began in 1957
  • Opened 3rd July 1963 and initial estimates were for 13,000 vehicles per day
  • There are in fact two tunnels – one northbound and one southbound – and each tunnel has a cycleway and a pedestrian path
  • The length of the Clyde Tunnel is 762 metres and the width of the river at the same point is 123 metres
  • The tunnel went through a major refurbishment that involved the installation of a new secondary lining incorporating the latest fire protection materials available at the time. Costs were approximately £12 million and work started in March 2005 and were completed in 2007.ClydeTunnel_1963_brochure

You can find out more about the Clyde Tunnel on the Glasgow City Council website and on the HoldYourBreath project website and on Wikipedia.

In addition the Souvenir Booklet which accompanied the 1963 opening has been placed online, and can be seen here Clyde Tunnel 1963 (Source: Secret Scotland website)

You can download the Clyde Tunnel 50 years of travel here ClydeTunnel_50yrs_Brochure

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