It was four years ago this month that one of Doncaster’s most important, yet also most unloved, transport routes raced back into life for the first time in more than a decade.
For in the autumn of 2012, the equally loved and loathed North Bridge was opened up to all traffic once again – with the aim of helping to ease traffic flow in and around the town centre.
The old North Bridge, which carried the A1 through Doncaster and north towards Scotland had long been a bottleneck for drivers – and so when the new St George’s Bridge was opened in 2002 after a massive and long-awaited building project, hope was at hand that the new route would ease traffic headaches.
So 14 years ago, the previously bustling North Bridge, which took the Great North Road over the East Coast Main Line was closed – with only buses, pedestrians and taxis permitted to use the old route with the rest of the town’s traffic directed over the new bridge.
When it was realised that the old bridge was deathly quiet and the new bridge was struggling to cope with the onslaught of cars and vehicles, it was decided to open up North Bridge for cars heading out of town once again – a rule that remains to this day.
Many older drivers will recall the hairy trips across the bridge – with two narrow incoming lanes and two narrow outgoing lanes before bridge widening, it meant vehicles heading in opposite directions were passing just inches from each other.
And of course, the bridge has also been home to some landmark buildings. The offices and printing works of the former Doncaster Evening Post were on North Bridge for many years while another familiar sight for drivers was the Don Cinema, later a bingo and social club.
Both buildings were swept away – one to make way for where Halfords now stands while the Don was situated at the exit of the new bridge.