Railway bridge footpath to reopen

The pedestrian path has been closed for 10 months due to its poor condition

One of the footbridges on the railway bridge between Smíchov and Výtoň will soon open after 10 months of repairs.

Both pedestrian walkways on the bridge were closed in December 2017 due to their poor condition.

The Technical Roadways Administration (TSK) said the walkway of the Vyšehrad Railway Bridge, as it is sometimes called, would open in the coming days in mid-October, but this is some two weeks later than was planned. The date was delayed due to the selection the inner railing so it met the preservation requirements.

Repairs to the footbridge on the opposite side will begin at the earliest in May 2019.

The Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC), which owns the bridge, plans in the long term to dismantle the bridge and replace much of it. The railway bridge is almost 150 years old and is subject to monument protection.

There has been some discussion, though, of replacing the bridge with a wider and more modern one, as its condition is considered by some to be beyond repair. For that to happen, the landmark status would have to be removed.

Architectural experts say the existing bridge is an example of the type of construction that is no longer done, and a modern replica would not preserve its actual character unless it was made with the same steel and rivet technology.

The through-arch bridge style was built in 1872 and rebuilt in 1901. One of the architects of the bridge is František Prášil, who worked on the Petřín lookout tower and the construction of the Industrial Palace at Výstaviště.

The collapse of the pedestrian bridge at Troja in December 2017 brought attention to the condition of Prague's bridges. Many were found to be in poor condition. Aside from the railway bridge, there is also an ongoing controversy over whether to rebuild or replace the Libeň Bridge (Libeňský most), which faces some of the same issues as preservationists want the original preserved.

Almost one-fifth of 700 bridges in the capital city are in poor, very poor or emergency condition, according to a report submitted in January to City Hall’s Transportation Committee by the TSK.

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