RELIEVED motorists are once again driving legally over York's Lendal Bridge today, following the lifting of the council's controversial ban on cars, vans, lorries and motorbikes.
John Lightowler, from Green Hammerton, was one of the first to drive over the bridge after 10.30am, when he would previously have been caught on CCTV camera and issued with a £60 penalty charge notice, reducing to £30 if paid within 14 days.
He welcomed City of York Council's decision to abandon the restrictions which have prevented cars, vans, lorries and motorbikes from crossing the bridge for six-and-a-half hours a day since the end of August, following a Government traffic adjudicator's criticism of the scheme.
"It was crackers," said Mr Lightowler, of RM English estate agents. "We have had so many problems with it, with fines and having to drive such a long way round."
Another driver crossing the bridge legally also hailed the decision to scrap the ban, saying: "It's fantastic."
Markings on roads approaching the bridge, which warned of 'restricted access' and 'bus lane' have been painted over in black by council workmen, signs have been removed and a big electronic warning sign on the approach to the bridge from the railway station is switched off.
A wag has also posted a tiny mock 'plaque' on the bridge to mark its re-opening to traffic.
The sign, just below an official plaque marking the scrapping of bridge tolls in 1894, declares: "City of York..This bridge was declared free from toll on the 11th day of April 2014. Julie Gunnell Lord Mayor.. Brian Watson Sheriff ..James Alexander (council leader) .. Dave Merrett (Cabinet member for transport)."