Lincoln’s iconic Newport Arch, the 3rd Century northern gateway into the Roman city, famous for being the only Roman gateway in Britain still used by traffic, had a lucky escape today after being struck by a lorry. The incident serves to remind us of the potential cost of the pleasure of being able to drive under such an ancient entranceway.

Fortunately, when inspectors from the City of Lincoln Council attended the scene and had the lorry back out, it appeared that the damage was only superficial. Although a more comprehensive survey on the structure will be carried out, it seems that the arch has had a lucky escape, though even ‘superficial’ damage to an irreplaceable monument should not be accepted lightly – people have reported seeing numerous chips from the stonework on the ground after the lorry was removed.

The lorry stuck under the arch – photograph by Andy Cook, taken from The Lincolnite

Apparently, according to some media reports, the driver was following a sat nav and had not driven in Lincoln for 25 years. Like many people, I find those to be rather weak excuses

The photograph of the wedged lorry will provoke vivid memories for those familiar with a very similar incident that occurred in 1964, causing much more serious damage. That such an accident has happened again must surely cause questions to be asked over whether large vehicles should be allowed to use the arch at all. A third such incident may result in far worse consequences, and that can never be allowed to happen. After all, the difference between superficial scrapes and catastrophe may literally be only a few inches in the height of a lorry.

newport arch 1964
The 1964 Newport Arch accident

Media coverage of the event can be seen at The Telegraph, The Lincolnite and the Lincolnshire Echo.