Leeds nostalgia: Inner Ring Road in 1973 and 2018 - spot the difference

Two pictures which show just how much our city has changed in a little over four decades.

Sunday, 4th February 2018, 3:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th February 2018, 3:36 pm
Spot the difference.

The main picture (top) was taken in 1973 and shows New York Road on the Inner Ring Road approaching the junction with North Street, to the left, and New Briggate to the right, while the modern picture, taken from the same vantage point, was taken just a few weeks ago.

The immediate difference is traffic (or lack of) on the 1973 picture, which shows pristine ring road, bordered by neatly cropped embankments and newly planted shrubs and trees. Whereas in the more recent picture, the trees are mature, the concrete walls stained by decades of rain and grime.

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The horizon has changed very little and only minor alterations seem to have taken place in the foreground: the addition of a new sign at the foot of the sliproad and the metal railings on the right have obviously been upgraded or replaced at some point.

The Inner Ring Road itself was first proposed in 1951 and at the time was one of the most ambitious engineering projects undertaken in any city across the UK. Construction began in 1966, with the first part opening in January the following year. It required the demolition of 365 homes and 174 other structures. However, it wasn’t declared fully operational until 1975 and it wasn’t until 2008/9 when the final stretch opened - it links the M621 at junction 4 with the previously-constructed traffic light controlled interchange at Cross Green.

Back in the 1970s, Leeds billed itself as ‘the motorway city’, a badge leaders would probably rather prefer to forget in these more enlightened times, when the drive is to urge people to use cars less often in a bid to reduce pollution.