AROUND 20 years after a notorious Winchester rat-run was sealed off, one driver attempted to reopen the Kingsgate Arch.

Nobody was hurt when the white Fiat Punto ploughed into a bollard protecting the historic landmark near the city’s cathedral.

Witnesses said the car came down Kingsgate Street, passing the Wykeham Arms, before crashing over the stone bollard.

The damaged vehicle catapulted over the bollard and came to rest under the medieval arch, which is used by pedestrians and cyclists.

One woman, who was using the walkway beside the mid-section and asked not to be named, was within a few feet when it happened.

She said: “It’s a miracle nobody was killed as you get walkers and cyclists passing through there all the time. It was very lucky.”

Other witnesses said there was a large “bang” when the Fiat ran over the bollard just before 2pm on Tuesday (May 17).

The woman behind the wheel and her male passenger were not thought to have been injured in the crash.

The 26-year-old driver, from Colden Common, was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired. Her passenger, a 32-year-old man from Basingstoke was not arrested.

There were also no signs of damage to Kingsgate Arch, which dates from the 14th century.

Apart from the Westgate it is the only ancient route through the city walls left standing.

It also less than 50 yards from the house where Jane Austen spent her final days.