Last section of the D8 opens

The motorway has been under construction for three decades

The last 12 kilometers of the D8 motorway will open on Saturday, Dec. 17, as the Transportation Ministry has authorized the use of the section from Lovosice to Řehlovice. Work on the D8 is not fully complete, as some landscaping remains to be done and some overpasses have yet to be finished.

The D8 is 92 kilometers long and connects Prague to Ústí nad Labem and continues to the German border in the direction of Dresden.

Experts including geologists agreed the road was ready. The motorway has taken 32 years to build. Geologists said the slopes were stable but they will be monitored in particular in the area of Prackovice and Litochovice for risk of landslides.

Traffic between the two previously finished segments of the motorway was often congested at peak hours, with cars and trucks lined up to go through villages. The opening on the final segment should relieve this situation, according to Transportation Minister Dan Ťok (for ANO). Police say the highway will reduce the number of accidents.

Work on the D8 highway began in April 1984 in the Ústí nad Labem region. The first four-kilometer section opened in 1990. The construction was delayed by environmentalists from the group Děti Země, who wanted a different route than one going through a protected landscape area in the Central Bohemian Uplands (České středohoří). A rock slide in June 2013 near Litochovice caused further delays.

The budget for the final stretch of the D8 highway was Kč 8.9 billion, but rose by an additional Kč 1.2 billion due to more safety measures in areas prone to landslides.

The section of the highway running 45 kilometers from the Prague Ring to Lovosice opened between 1990 and 2000; the 23-kilometer segment from Ústí nad Labem to the German border at Petrovice was completed Dec. 21, 2006, and it includes the 2,058-meter-long Panenská tunnel, the longest in the Czech Republic. A five-kilometer stretch from Ústí nad Labem to Řehlovice opened in 1988 during the construction of the R63 expressway. The D8 forms part of the major European route E55 and the Pan-European Corridor IV.

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