Section of key Prague bridge set for demolition

Hlávka Bridge, photo: Honza Groh, CC BY-SA 3.0

Part of one of Prague’s most important bridges is in a calamitous state and must be knocked down. The overpass by the city’s Vltavská Metro station makes up a section of a key through road.

Hlávka Bridge,  photo: Honza Groh,  CC BY-SA 3.0
The Hlávka Bridge is Prague’s 13th going by the direction of the Vltava River and connects the Florenc area on the border of the New Town and Karlín with Bubenská St. in the Holešovice district. It also crosses and provides access to Štvanice island.

Perhaps the whole bridge’s most salient feature is that it is part of the magistrála, or mainline, a major road that runs through the centre of the Czech capital and carries up to 100,000 vehicles a day. The structure also carries trams.

On Tuesday a company carrying out checks of a section of the bridge by the Vltavská Metro station reported that it was in a poor state and the Technical Road Administration, which oversees the capital’s roads, closed part of it at midnight.

Now a spokesperson for the Technical Road Administration has said that the overpass in question is in such a calamitous state that it cannot be repaired.

The only alternative is to knock down the structure, which actually comprises two bridges running in either direction.

In the meantime officials have already hired a company that will install temporary supports so that the overpass can be temporarily reopened within around a week.

Both the sections of overpass that needs to be replaced date from 1980 and were built by Vojenské stavby (Military Constructions).

The Technical Road Administration says the type of construction involved is similar to that of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge, which caved in in August, claiming 48 lives.

A footbridge in Prague’s Troja district that collapsed last year, leaving four people injured, was also based on a similar design.

The Technical Road Administration said the stabilisation ordered to keep the overpass functional will also be used during the demolition process, which will take place in stages.

A tender process for the design of the new section of bridge will be announced but no date has been set even for the removal of the present structure, officials said.

A number of other bridges in Prague have also been found to require repair or replacement.

One example, Libeň Bridge, was temporarily closed at the start of 2018 and a decision is yet to be made on whether to knock down or repair it.