Metro D construction may start in 2019

New dates are announced for the fourth subway line

Construction of the long-planned Metro D line is tentatively set to start in 2019 with a 4.1 kilometer section between Pankrác and Nové Dvory. It should be completed in 2023.

The city plans in November to launch a competition to find firm to conduct a geological survey, Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) told the media. The survey is considered the first stage of the project.

The Metro D line is intended to provide better connections to the southern part of the city and relieve congestion on the Metro C line. Automated driverless trains are planned for the line.

Dolínek said he would present the timetable to the supervisory board of the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP), as he considers the dates realistic. The Mining Authority should submit a report to the city in February 2018, and in August a symbolic statue of St Barbora, patron of tunnelers and people who work with explosives, should be erected and then the survey will begin in September 2018. DPP will act as an investor.

Once the survey is complete, the second stage will be the construction of the Pankrác to Nové Dvory section. Preparation will begin in March 2017, with the idea that actual construction will begin in 2019 and last for four years.

The third stage would be a tunnel from Pisnice to the city center, which would occur while the second stage was under way. The fourth stage is building a depot at Pisnice.

Stages two to four are also dependent on factors such as building permits and land availability, Dolínek said. Those stages may be broken down into smaller ones.

The city still has to reach an agreement with some land owners, and is expected to sign with some of them this week to allow construction in the Krč area.

Construction from Pisnice to náměstí Míru is estimated at Kč 50 billion. The city hopes to obtain Kč 7 billion to Kč 9 billion from EU funds.

The project is not without controversy. People have pointed out that the due to years of delays in starting the project, the planned stations are already obsolete. Some 2,700 people signed a petition last year calling for more modern designs. The city claims that since zoning permits have already been issued, only cosmetic designs can be made to the approved plans. The plans were made in 2009, but some people say they were already old fashioned at that time, based on trends from the end of the last century. Construction originally was set to begin in 2010.

New station designs are only possible at at Náměstí Míru and Náměstí Bratří Synků, which do not have zoning approval yet.

Poor planning of metro stations has been an issue before. Nádraží Veleslavín, one of the new stations on the Metro A line that opened in April 2015, connects with a bus that goes to the airport. The station, however, lacks an escalator going from the street to the vestibule so people have to carry their luggage up the steps. The city has had to employ porters to carry suitcases for free to help people. The oversight made international headlines and is mentioned on travel websites.

In September 2016 the supervisory board of DPP announced that the missing escalators would finally be installed, but the exact date has not been specified.

The Prague metro was founded in 1974, and currently has three lines with 61 stations. It is the fifth-busiest metro system in Europe. 

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