Negrelli viaduct in Prague to undergo extensive reconstruction

Negrelli viaduct, photo: Jvs, CC 3.0

The Negrelli viaduct in Prague, the first railway bridge to be built across the Vltava River in 1850, is set to undergo extensive reconstruction, in order to create a link from the city centre to Prague Airport.

Negrelli viaduct,  photo: Jvs,  CC 3.0
The Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration has just announced a public tender for the renovation of the unique technological landmark, the daily E15 reported on Tuesday, citing data from the Information System on Public Contracts.

The reconstruction, which is required to ensure future sustainability of the bridge, is to be launched in the autumn of 2017. Work on the bridge is expected to take 39 months, and costs are projected at around 1.2 billion crowns.

The reconstruction of the Negrelli Viaduct is linked to the modernisation of the railway route from Prague to Kladno and it will be the first stage of the railway connection to Prague Airport. It should allow trains to run faster, increase the capacity of the railroad track and adjust the track to current noise and vibration limits.

After the reconstruction, passengers travelling from the city centre should be able to reach the airport in less than half an hour. It should also remove all extensions that were added to the viaduct throughout the years.

The bridge is expected to be completely closed for most of the reconstruction work, with trains that regularly terminate at Masayrkovo nádraží diverted to Bubny Train Station. The reconstruction of the Negrelli viaduct has been postponed for several years. It was first proposed in 2012 by the former head of the Railway Infrastructure Administration Jiří Kolář. At that time its costs were estimated at 800 million crowns.

During the summer months, some of the bridge’s arches in the city’s Karlín district had been temporarily converted into bars, galleries and even a cinema. However, it is not yet clear how the arches will be used after the reconstruction is completed.

The 1130 metre Negrelli Viaduct is the second oldest bridge in Prague and the oldest railway bridge across the Vltava. Until 1910, it was also the longest viaduct in Europe.

The viaduct was named after its designer, Austrian engineer Alois Negrelli von Moldelbe. Work on it started in 1846, employing about 3,000 workers, and the bridge was completed four years later.