WHILE there were celebrations on the new Grafton bridge after its final segment was lifted into place, Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons stood in quiet reflection.

"It's a very exciting time for Grafton, standing here, knowing there are big changes under way in Grafton and also the Clarence Valley - but the old Grafton bridge will always be part of my family," he said.

Cr Simmons revealed his father and uncles were part of its construction.

"My father was one of the contractors for the old bridge," he said.

"They had gravel trucks and they hauled gravel from what I know as the gravel pit. They were part of the procession that went across at the opening of that old bridge. They had a piano on the truck, I think one of my uncles was playing."

However Cr Simmons said the bridge also claimed the life of one uncle during that time.

"He was in the gravel pit and he was crushed," he said.

"Danger was a big thing in those days, just like it is today with the large machinery and plant works."