Trója bridge still lacks building permit

The completion date of Trója bridge — the cost of which has tripled — is itself unrealistic, a Metrostav source says

Nový Trójský most, součást komplexu Blanka, měl být dokončen ještě letos. Zcela jistě nebude. foto: Česká pozice

Nový Trójský most, součást komplexu Blanka, měl být dokončen ještě letos. Zcela jistě nebude.

The Trója bridge (Trojský most), which will cross the Vltava river in Prague and connect to the Blanka road tunnel complex, is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. But this certainly won’t happen as a construction permit for the structure has yet to be issued.

Prague City Hall, which is responsible for obtaining the document, declined to comment on the issue. The bridge constitutes a considerable portion of the final costs involved in the Blanka project — the largest current public works project in the Czech capital — and some of these costs are set to be re-examined as the project is growing more expensive than originally planned.

The city is faced with a dilemma that has no clear-cut solution: choosing a cheaper and less complicated alternative or a more expensive but architecturally rewarding one. While Prague is grappling with tight budget constraints, a majority of residents would probably opt for the first possibility. After the initial Trója bridge draft was replaced by the current plan, the price increased nearly threefold. Instead of the Kč 400 million set aside for the original project, the City of Prague is now prepared to pay almost Kč 1.2 billion.

In the tender for the construction of the tunnel complex, which it ultimately won, Metrostav also put forward a Vltava bridge design estimated at Kč 400 million. But after the tunnel tender was completed Prague City Hall decided to organize a separate architectural contest, held in 2006, to determine the future shape of the bridge. A proposal by the Roman Koucký and Mott MacDonald architectural firms was selected from the 20 designs submitted in the contest.

Bridge chosen in separate tender

Prague City Hall justified its decision to hold a separate contest by asserting the new bridge would “radically influence the future appearance of the Trója basin.” And so it decided to “determine the architectural and structural design of the Trója bridge through a contest that will make it possible to choose an optimal solution from various proposals when it comes to suiting both technical parameters and architectural requirements for this work of engineering.” ‘This date is totally unrealistic, as it fails to meet the legislative [requirements] pertaining to this project.’

According to the schedule for the construction of the Blanka tunnel complex, work on the Trója bridge was set to begin in June 2010 and completion has been planned for the end of 2011. “This date is totally unrealistic, as it fails to meet the legislative [requirements] pertaining to this project,” a well-informed source close to Metrostav told Czech Position.

The project’s investor, Prague City Hall, has so far even failed to obtain a construction permit for the bridge. “[A permit] is supposed to be issued this month and take effect in March,” the source added.

Prague City Hall would not, however, comment on the lack of a building permit. “The Prague City Council has instructed the department of the city investor to draw up a detailed analysis regarding the items that cause financial engagements to increase that will subsequently be discussed at the March 1 meeting of the Council,” Tereza Krásenká, director of the PR department of Prague City Hall, told Czech Position. ‘Possible revisions with regard to each individual item will be discussed in great detail.’

“Following this, possible revisions with regard to each individual item will be discussed in great detail with the entities concerned and then the results of these revisions will be discussed with the building contractors,” Krásenká said.

The six-kilometer Blanka tunnel, when completed, will be the longest municipal tunnel in Europe. Originally planned to cost approximately Kč 25 billion, costs for the tunnel have now risen to Kč 35 billion. The tunnel will go from Hradčany though Holešovice and feed into the Trója bridge.

The construction of the tunnel, which began in 2008, has met with several problems including three separate collapses leaving large craters on the surface. The Blanka tunnel and Trója bridge are part of a planned inner ring road meant to reduce traffic in the city.