Around 20 million a month swallowed by Blanka tunnel

Photo: Petr Bušta

The operation of the Blanka tunnel complex in Prague costs the city around 20 million crowns a month, deputy mayor of Prague Petr Dolínek told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The controversial tunnel, which cost the tax payers some 43 billion crowns, was opened on September 19 last year. To date, some 30 million vehicles have passed through the tunnel.

Photo: Petr Bušta
“The costs for the operation of the tunnel, excluding energy costs, amount to 16 million crowns a month,” Petr Dolínek said on Friday, adding that they are likely to be reduced once Blanka runs in normal regime. The energy costs amount to around 50 million crowns a year, which is some four million crowns a month.

The around six-kilometre long underground structure is said to be Europe’s longest urban tunnel. The complex consists of three tunnels connecting the districts of Střešovice, the area west of Prague Castle, with Trója in the northeast. The tunnel complex, along with Prague’s inner ring road, was designed to relieve the heavy traffic through the historic centre of Prague.

According to the Prague Technical Administration of Roadways, the tunnel has reduced traffic on some adjacent roads, including Milady Horákové and Veletržní streets. On the other hand, the opening of the tunnel has worsened the situation elsewhere, namely on the Jugoslávských partyzánů and Patočkova streets.

The Technical Administration of Roadways has also announced that the accident rate in the tunnel is 72 percent lower than it used to be at street level before it was built.

The highest number of vehicles passing through the Blanka tunnel was recorded by the Technical Administration of Roadways on July 16, 2016, when they counted some 94,500 vehicles. According to Alexander Butovič, head of the company Satra, which is in charge of the operation of the tunnel, no major technical or technological problems have been encountered during the trial its trail operation so far.

The Satra company now needs to submit several documents, including one concerning noise and emissions, before the tunnel can run in a normal regime.

Originally due to open in 2011, the biggest and most expensive project in the history of Prague was repeatedly delayed and has cost tax payers several billion crowns more than originally expected.