Engineers worked overtime to ensure one of Doncaster’s busiest roads was cleared of a smashed bridge for yesterday’s rush hour.
Now council highways chiefs have to decide whether or not the footbridge over the Cleveland Street dual carriageway, near the Balby Bridge flyover, will be replaced.
The concrete structure, built in the 1970s, was already blocked off to pedestrians because of concern about its condition, before the lifting gear mounted on the back of a lorry smashed into it on Tuesday morning.
The northern half of the bridge and the steps to it were brought down, causing emergency services to close the road in both directions until midnight.
A police investigation has been launched into how the crane - on the back of the Plasmor paving block truck - came to be elevated before it hit the bridge as it made its way to the town centre.
Part of it landed on the lorry cab but the driver escaped with minor injuries.
The driver of the lorry, which has been impounded by police, is understood to be a man in his early 40s.
John Swain, Plasmor’s group commercial director, said the driver counted himself a ‘very lucky’ man.
“We have requested possible CCTV of the scene and will be interviewing the driver to ascertain what has happened,” he said.
“At the moment it’s a mystery - we don’t know how the crane came to be elevated. It’s a freak accident.”
Doncaster Council teams worked into the night to clear the wreckage and the remains of the bridge are expected to be demolished in the next week, said a spokesman.
The bridge has been closed for some time and last week’s council budget proposals meeting included plans to provide a £50,000 replacement in the coming financial year.
The cash-strapped authority is expected to decide whether to now go ahead with a replacement in the coming months.
Residents from the nearby Balby Bridge flats estate were among the first on the scene and said they could not believe what had happened.
Gill Gillies, Doncaster Council’s assistant director of environment, said: “I would like to thank staff involved for their hard work throughout the day and night to clear the route.
“I would also like to thank drivers and residents for their patience during the incident.”