A JOHNSTONE pensioner was on a real high as he attended the official opening of the Queensferry Crossing...more than 50 years after he helped to build the neighbouring Forth Road Bridge.

Back in the 1960s, Bob Duncanson was the youngest civil engineer to be asked to work on the mammoth project linking the communities of North and South Queensferry.

Fast forward more than half a century and he was a privileged guest as the Queen declared the new crossing open.

And Bob, now aged 78, revealed he had earlier asked if he could play a part in helping to build the £1.35billion structure.

He told The Gazette: “I did ask them if I could just have a little job, so I could say I’d worked on both bridges.

“In hindsight, it was probably for the best that I didn’t get any sort of job, as it would have required a lot of travelling, but I did ask them.

“I am very proud to have worked on the first road bridge and the new bridge is just beautiful.

“It’s huge and it’s so nice they have kept us all part of it.”

Bob had just left Paisley Technical College when the chance to work on the Forth Road Bridge arose.

He said: “I was lucky to know a man from Johnstone who was working on the bridge and asked me to get involved straight out of college.

“I didn’t have much responsibility at first but I worked hard and got promoted to better roles. I was featured in the Johnstone Advertiser at the time and I’ve kept that article to this very day.

“It was a real experience moving from Johnstone and settling in Edinburgh.”

After the project was completed, Bob continued to work as an engineer – mostly dealing with the design and construction of factories – until he retired at the age of 70.

He was invited to a special celebration to mark 50 years of the Forth Road Bridge in 2014.

And he was able to catch up with some of his old colleagues again as he attended the opening of the Queensferry Crossing, which is the longest bridge of its type in the world.

Bob, who now lives in Kilmacolm, said: “They seriously underestimated the volume of traffic which would cross the first bridge. This was a time way before computers or anything like that and it’s hard to envisage how something is going to last all that time.

“Most of the engineers who worked on the road bridge are now in their eighties and there aren’t many of us left, so it was very special to have that invitation.

“It is quite a sight to see all three bridges across the river and we had some great entertainment on the day.”

Bridges from the last three centuries now stretch across the waterway, with the cantilever Forth Bridge of 1890 still holding its own, with thousands of people travelling across by train each day.

The Queensferry Crossing – a three-tower, cable-stayed bridge – is a replacement for the original road bridge, although it will still be used by buses, cyclists, taxis and pedestrians.