More tunnels planned for Prague

A year after Blanka opens, tunnels are back on the map

It has been a year since the Blanka tunnel opened in Prague, the longest road tunnel in the Czech Republic and longest urban tunnel in Europe.

But traffic still remains a problem in parts of the city, and putting traffic underground is being considered as a solution. Despite the problems with the Blanka tunnel, which was four years late and far over its original budget, diverting crosstown traffic underground is becoming a favored solution to free up streets on the surface.

Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), responsible for transportation, told the media that geological surveys were taking place for several planned tunnels, but it would take up to eight years for the tunnels to be built.

The city is making a priority of completing the Prague ring road and related roadways in the northeast of the city, and plans call for several new tunnels.

A section of road is still missing between the crossroads at Pelc-Tyrolka in Libeň, which feeds off of Blanka, and the Štěrboholy radial road. This section will also will include new tunnels. The longest should be a three kilometer tunnel under Bílá skála in Libeň. Another planned tunnel is in Jarov and would go under Spojovací Street to relieve local traffic there. The Malešice tunnel will be about two kilometers and run between the local rail station and the rail underpass at Českobrodská Street.

The completion of the Radlice radial road, which will link the Prague ring road to an inner municipal ring road, also counts on a total of three tunnels measuring 2.5 kilometers.

A solution to traffic problems in Prague 6 is still in the distant future, though. The Brevnov radial road will be almost seven kilometers in total. Several options are still being considered, with different amounts of tunnels. The road could handle 80,000 cars per day when finished. One option favored by Prague 6 Town Hall has a long tunnel that connects directly to the Blanka tunnel.

Prague 8 is also looking at traffic solutions, as traffic has increased there since the opening of the Blanka tunnel. Prague 8 Mayor Roman Petrus would like to see a tunnel under Palmovka to divert traffic headed to the Blanka tunnel from streets in the area.

Not all of the planned tunnels are for cars. Future underground construction also includes the Metro D line in the south of Prague and a train link to the airport, which will have a section of tunnel near Dejvice.

The Blanka tunnel opened Sept. 19, 2015, some four years late. Planning started in 1993 and construction began in 2006. The final cost was at least Kč 43 billion, while the initial budget was Kč 21.2 billion. It is about 5.5 kilometers long and has three sections Bubenečský, Dejvický and Brusnický. Overall, it carries 30 million cars per year. The millionth car went through on Oct. 3, 2015. Traffic has ranged between a low of 22,000 cars on Jan. 1, 2016, and 94,500 on July 12, 2016. Some wildlife has been spotted using the tunnel including rabbits, foxes and weasels. Some 270 people have tried to cross the tunnel on foot including two women with baby carriages.

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