Messrs. Christian and Connelly together with some tenants on the Luskintyre estate entered into a written agreement to erect a bridge over the river to get their produce to market, which was to be paid for according to the amount of land held by each tenant.
Consequently in November 1855, tenders were called for the erection of a wooden bridge across the Hunter River at Luskintyre, with plans and specifications able to be viewed at Mr. A. Wilkinson’s, Waterloo Inn, West Maitland. A contract was entered into with Mr. Scanlon by the appointed committee to erect the bridge for £555. One term of the contract was that the work should be executed within six months and although not completed within this time, work was sufficient for the bridge to be used.
The bridge was, however, destroyed in the flood of 1857, and for a number of years no public crossing place for a distance of 60 miles existed on the river Hunter. It was not until November 1863 that the Hunter crossing was again requested, and a public meeting was held at Mr. Gready's Red Lion Inn, Lochinvar, to consider what steps should be taken for obtaining a punt for the Hunter between Lochinvar and Luskintyre. A request was delivered to the Minister for Lands which pointed out that the district of Lochinvar had ‘never before sought for or received any assistance from the Government, it would not be unreasonable for us to ask you to replace the bridge ; but as we are aware of the unsatisfactory state of the public finances, we should be satisfied, for the present, with a punt.’In 1864, a site was chosen and work commenced on construction of the punt, which remained in service until 1893 when it was swept away by flood waters, the bulk of it deposited in the branches of trees.
Although the punt was in operation, the community continued to petition for a new bridge. In 1868 a causeway was constructed by the government as a substitute for a bridge, at the crossing-place of the river at Kaloudah.Deputations to the government continued to be submitted for many years for a better and more certain means of communication across the river than the then existing low-level bridge.
In August 1899, the necessity of erecting a high-level bridge in place of the low-level structure was urged by a deputation to the Minister for Public Works.
Surveys were made of three alternative sites at Luskintyre, Dalwood and Greta, but it was determined to adhere to the Luskintyre site, and £18,000 was voted on the estimates for the Luskintyre Bridge.
By April 1901 the Resident Engineer, Mr. Edgell began to peg out the site for the proposed bridge.Following completion of the plans for a large steel structure, tenders were invited for a high-level bridge, immediately up-stream of the existing low-level structure, funds being provided by the 1900 loan vote. It was to be one of the best and most expensive bridges in the district when erected, the first bridge of its kind or design made in Australia, being a lattice structure, built entirely of steel.
Construction work began in 1903. The bridge was designed and erected under the direction of Mr. W. J. Hanna; Commissioner and Principal Engineer for Roads and Bridges', construction was carried out by an American contractor, Mr. F. J. Carson, of York Street, Sydney, Messrs. R. L. Scrutton and Company, of Ultimo, Sydney, were the sub-contractors for the manufacture of the steel and iron work. Mr. W. F. Burrow acted as resident engineer during the construction of the work.Unfortunately a fatal accident occurred on 21 August 1903 when the contractor, Mr. F.J. Carson and two workers, William James Dwyer and Jonathon Bishop were working on the second section of the bridge. They were thrown from a staging plank when a steel hanger securing it snapped. Carson escaped serious injury, however Bishop and Dwyer died of their injurues. A subsequent inquest returned a verdict of accidental death and exonerated the contractor, Mr. Carson, from all blame in the matter
Tuesday 19 January 1904 was described by the Maitland Weekly Mercury as a "red-letter day in the history of Lochinvar and Luskintyre", as at 12.30pm, Mr John Gillies, M.L.A. formally declared the bridge open, before a crowd of 700 or 800 people,
The final cost of the Luskintyre Bridge ‘ a magnificent structure’ spanning the Hunter River , was £19,734.
The bridge itself measures 278 metres and inclusive of the earthwork approaches, 376 metres. At the time of completion , the Luskintyre steel trusses were the largest yet erected in the State,with the exception of those in the Hawkesbury Railway Bridge.
The bridge consists of two steel trusses, each 60.6 metres long, supported upon iron cylinder piers filled with concrete and 15 beam spans of ironbark timber, supported upon braced pile piers.
It is one of only two surviving examples in New South Wales of an early steel Pratt truss bridge.
The bridge is listed as an item of environmental heritage under the Maitland Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP), as well as an item of State Heritage Significance under the Roads and Maritime Heritage and Conservation Register.Roads and Maritime Services implemented major maintenance on Luskintyre Bridge to maintain capacity and reduce long term maintenance costs.
The NSW Government provided $4.9 million in 2015/16 for this major maintenance work.
In 2010 the Luskintyre Bridge was used as a set location during the filming of the movie Tomorrow When The War Began.