Over 300 Czech rail bridges set for improvements in coming years

Zahrádky bridge, photo: Bohumil Šimčík

The Czech state intends to invest nearly CZK 1 billion into improving the country’s railway bridges in the next few years. Some 319 bridges are in need of work at present, the Railway Administration said on Tuesday.

This means that nearly 5 percent of all the rail bridges in the country require improvements. While that may seem like a lot, at the turn of the millennium 11 percent were in need of attention.

The Railway Administration said it was carrying out special tests of the prestressed concrete bridges but had found no shortcomings to date.

Marcela Pernicová of the Railway Administration said that none of the over 6,700 bridges it was responsible for were in a state that could be considered dangerous or a threat to safety.

Bridges that require construction intervention are marked as level three in an assessment of the technical condition of bridges.

Photo: Jiří Němec

Twenty years ago, 735 bridges were judged to be in this state, which the Railway Administration blamed on the long-term inadequate maintenance of rail infrastructure, both under communism and in the 1990s.

More than half of those bridges have since been renovated and Ms. Pernicová said her organisation aimed to reduce the number of level three structures further by 2030.

To this end, the Railway Administration plans to invest almost CZK 10 billion crowns in the next decade, in addition to routine maintenance.

Some construction work will be carried out separately, other work will be part of larger construction projects.

The planned works include to the bridge under Prague’s Vyšehrad (which is 216 meters long), the bridge in Mokropsy (170m), the bridge over the Orlík reservoir at Červená nad Vltavou (272m) and the viaduct in Brno over Křídlovická St. and the Svratka river (92m), which is part of the Břeclav to Brno line.

At the same time, the Railway Administration is continuing extraordinary inspections of prestressed concrete bridges.

It previously selected 63 buildings for detailed diagnostics and static assessment and has so far carried out checks on 34, not uncovering any significant defects to date.

Attention has been paid to these bridges, where steel ropes are usually inserted into the concrete structure to ensure the tensile strength of the concrete, since 2018, when a motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy.

The accident killed 43 people. That same year a footbridge at Troja in Prague collapsed, injuring four people.

Recent repairs carried out by the Railway Administration include the bridge over the Hracholusky reservoir, the Zahrádky bridge on the Lovosice-Česká Lípa line and Prague’s Negrelli Viaduct.