Prague executive committee backs demolition of Libeň Bridge

Libeň Bridge, photo: KarelJ, Public Domain

Prague City council’s executive committee has backed demolishing the city’s historic Libeň Bridge, a 1928 construction with Cubist elements, rather than opt for renovation. If the plan goes ahead, a new bridge will be built in its place. Proponents argue that saving the original would be almost costly as building a new bridge and will require less maintenance moving forward.

Libeň Bridge,  photo: KarelJ,  Public Domain
The latest decision appears to be another nail in the coffin of Prague’s historic Libeň Bridge, which is in poor shape and a long vexing problem in need of a solution. This year the bridge had to be closed for a month-and-a-half. Some NGOs and, for example, the mayor of Prague 7, vastly favour saving the bridge rather than tearing it down.

But the broader consensus on Prague City Hall’s executive committee appears to be that the bridge will have to go altogether.

Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová told Czech Radio that it was in no way a hasty decision but one that had been under consideration for quite some time.

“We have looked at this question for a number of years. Even though it was long clear the bridge is not a cultural heritage site, we still waited for two years for confirmation from the Ministry of Culture. Even if we repaired [Libeň] Bridge it would need constant attention.”

Adriana Krnáčová,  photo: Filip Jandourek
Among the backers of the demolition argument was Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek who wrote that tearing down the existing bridge to make replacement for a new one was more economically viable, He also made clear the commission would be a FIDIC contract as opposed to a classic tender, meaning the price for the new bridge’s construction would be fixed and could not balloon financially the way Prague construction plans have in the past.

Those against tearing down the historic bridge or unwilling to vote on the matter included fellow Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská who voted against and councillor Jana Plamínková who abstained. Councillor Jan Wolf did not vote, Czech Radio reported. The executive’s decision still has to get backing by the majority of the full council which meets on Thursday.