Czechs to invest over one billion crowns to raise bridges

Bridge on the Vltava River in Miřejovice, photo: Pepavasa, Public Domain

The Czech government is planning to elevate eight bridges that span the Vltava River to open the route between Prague and Germany for both tourists and cargo boats. The overall cost of the project is estimated at 1.3 billion crowns.

Bridge on the Vltava River in Miřejovice,  photo: Pepavasa,  Public Domain
The Czech Republic’s Waterway Directorate has secured financing from the European Commission. The Connecting Europe Facility fund will cover some 85 percent of the overall costs of the project.

At the moment, the majority of boats coming from Germany cannot get through to Prague and are forced to stop at Mělník because of the low brides. Currently, only boats that are 4.5 meters or shorter can pass.

As part of the project to modernise the Vltava waterway, eight bridges and one footbridge will be raised to allow through boats that are 7 meters in height.

“The building permit procedures are under way and we would like to start the construction works already this year,” Jan Bukovský of the Czech Waterways Directorate told the e15 business daily.

Vraňany – Hořín lock,  photo: Czech Radio - Radio Prague
The renovation works mostly concerns smaller bridges which go across the Vraňany – Hořín lock, a 10 kilometre channel diverging from the left bank of the Vltava River, which compensates for the unnavigable section of the Vltava in the direction of Mělník.

Some of the bridges will be elevated and some changed into suspension bridges. The renovation also includes changes to the Hořín lock and locks at the Štavnice island in Prague. The city of Prague is also considering using container boats for communal waste collection in the future.

The water tourism industry has been increasing in recent years, with several hotel boats plying the Elbe and Vltava rivers on a weekly basis.