Prague’s new bridge could be named after Madeleine Albright
A new bridge connecting the districts of Prague 4 and 5 could be named after the recently deceased Prague-born US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The new name is now set to be approved by Prague City Hall and the relevant district authorities. To find out how the idea came about I spoke to the Deputy Mayor for Transport Adam Scheinherr. He says that there had already been plans to name the bridge after a woman.
“First of all I would like to say that the bridge which we are planning to construct did not yet have a name.
“It was called the ‘Dvorecký Bridge’, but that was only a working title and it was never likely to be called that anyway, because it was originally supposed to go from the Dvorce neighbourhood.
“However, this location has since been scrapped. It is now planned that the bridge will go from Smíchov to Podolí.
“Over the past several months we have been looking for a new name and actually a few weeks ago I was searching for the names of very important women, because I thought that it could be the first bridge in Prague to be named after a woman.
When we received the very sad news of Madeleine Albright’s passing two days ago, I proposed that it would be an honour for Prague to name the bridge after her.
“She was born in Smíchov after all, so she has a very close connection to the bridge’s location. Indeed she was born just a few hundred meters away from where it will stand.
“She was also one of the most influential Czech women internationally.
“Even if she lived in the United States, she was very important for the Czech Republic, because she helped us become a part of NATO and with the war going on in Ukraine now we can see how important that was.”
What is the progress on the idea to rename the bridge? I understand it first has to be approved by a City Hall commission and by the administrations of Prague 4 and 5?
“I have only unofficially discussed the proposal with representatives of Prague 4 and 5.
“For now, they told me that it seems like a good idea and that they will discuss it within their teams.
“As far as the commission is concerned, it will meet in four weeks after which the City Council will decide.”
Could you tell us what the practicality of the bridge will be and by when we could see it built?
“The idea of building the bridge arose in 2009 when it was placed into the urban plan of the capital.
“The bridge will serve pedestrians, cyclists and trams. Most importantly the latter, because, for now, trams crossing the river in that part of the city have to make a wide detour and cross over the Palacký bridge [further up north].
“This increases the distance by several kilometres. The new bridge will therefore offer a faster and shorter connection.
“We are now in the process of finishing the tender for finding the contractor that will build the bridge and I hope that we will be able to begin its construction this year.
“Another interesting aspect about the bridge is that it was designed in the neo-cubist style.
“The Czech Republic has an established history when it comes to cubist architecture.
“As you probably know, there were several cubist painters and sculptors in France and Spain. However, there were no architects designing cubist buildings and bridges.
“It was Czech architects who implemented cubism in their architecture.
“We have a cubist bridge in Prague already – the Libeň Bridge. Now, nearly a century after cubist buildings stopped being built in Prague, this architectural proposal won, so I think it will be of high architectural value.”
When do you think that the bridge will be finished?
“I hope that construction will begin this year. The construction itself should take around 850 days.”