Prague city council envisages new tunnel project

Blanka tunnel, photo: Filip Jandourek

After completing the controversial Blanka tunnel complex more than a year ago, Prague Town Hall is now considering digging deep into its pockets and constructing another massive tunnel, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. City councillors are hoping that the new project would finally solve traffic problems by completing the city inner ring road.

Photo: Filip Jandourek,  Czech Radio
According to the daily, Prague Town Hall has put aside some 80 million crowns for the preparation of the project in next year’s budget. The cost of the complex of three tunnels is estimated at around 50 billion crowns, but deputy mayor of Prague Petr Dolínek admitted it could be even more.

According to Mr Dolínek, it is one of the most important projects for the city. Without it getting completed, problems with transport in Prague will never be solved, he told the daily.

“Whenever there are some construction works under way in the city, traffic on the right bank of the Vltava faces serious traffic problems or gets to a standstill. Competing the inner ring is the best solution,” Mr. Dolínek told Hospodářské noviny.

The new tunnel would connect the existing Blanka tunnel with the southern part of the Prague city ring road, the so-called Jižní spojka. It would lead from the Blanka tunnel exit along the Bulovka hospital under the district of Jarov to the Skalka housing estate, where it would connect with the city ring road. Another part of the tunnel will lead through the district of Libeň.

The exact route, however, is not yet clear. One of the challenges of the new project is Povltavská street by the river, which isn’t wide enough to allow four lanes next to each other. Designers will have to choose between three solutions: a double-deck tunnel, two-level road on the surface or a tunnel combined with a road on the surface.

According to the daily, the Town Hall wants to announce public competition for administrator of the contract by Christmas. During the first quarter of 2017 they want to select project planners. Experts say preparation of such a project may take about a year and a half.

But according to Ludvík Šajtar from Stara, the company that planned Blanka, it could take up to six or seven years. The preparation of the Blanka tunnel complex took 12 years and its construction lasted for another eight years.

Deputy mayor Petr Dolínek remains optimistic, however, hoping to complete the second tunnel within the horizon of 10 years.