THE Cleddau Bridge collapse half a century ago is recalled with archive photographs from the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.

On a very warm June day 50 years ago tragedy struck out of the blue – and Pembrokeshire and one of its flagship projects became national headline news.

Work was well under way constructing the Cleddau Bridge – linking the north and south shores of the Haven Waterway.

On Tuesday, June 2, as another box girder section was being moved into its place, the partly completed bridge on the southern side collapsed - ‘like a stick of toffee’ as one horrified witness remembered.

Four construction workers were killed and five were injured in those few seconds.

Work on the Cleddau Bridge had begun the previous year. The contract had been awarded in September 1968 at a cost of £2.1 million, and was expected to be completed by March 1971.

After the collapse, and the inquiry that followed, work began again in 1972 and the well-remembered ‘Cleddau Queen’ and ‘Cleddau King’ car and passenger ferries continued to link the two shores, from Neyland to Hobbs Point.

If the last ferry was missed, drivers faced at least a 28 mile round road trip to get to the other side of the waterway.

The bridge finally opened in March 1975, and the final cost was nearly £12 million. In its first year in operation close to 900,000 vehicle crossings were made, with ticket booths located on the southern side.

Almost exactly 44 years later – in March 2019 – toll charges were scrapped, and the Cleddau Bridge is now toll-free.