City will examine all bridges

A collapse of a pedestrian bridge has but infrastructure in the spotlight

Prague will be examining several other bridges in the city, following the Dec. 2 collapse of a footbridge between Stromovka and Troja. Four people were injured, two of them seriously. The serious injuries involved a man and a woman in their 60s. The minor injuries were of two men aged 34 and 43. The names were not released.

Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) has called for a complete examination of all the city’s bridges including footbridges so people can feel secure about using them.

The city had been monitoring the condition of the footbridge since the floods in 2002 damaged it. The bridge was popular with cyclists and often was crowded in the summer. The cold and wet weather over the weekend led to it being almost empty at the time of the collapse.

Many people who used the bridge on a regular basis recounted over social media that it had been wobbly for a long time and that if the collapse had happened in the summer on a sunny day the casualties would have been worse. The bridge was used by people walking from the city center to and from Prague Zoo, one of the city’s most popular attractions.

City Hall is considering closing a footbridge in Radotín, which has also been monitored for some time.

Hlavka Bridge (Hlávkův most), which crosses Štvanice island and connects Holešovice with Karlín, may be closed to tram traffic in the coming months, but left open for cars and pedestrians.

The city has been investing in infrastructure, and since 2014 had spent some Kč 1,25 billion on bridge maintenance, Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) said at an emergency press conference on Sunday. He claimed that bridges have been a priority, and safety was not being neglected.

Dolínek said that closing the Radotín footbridge, which crosses the Berounka river in Prague 16, has been considered for some time, and the responsible people should decide soon about it. The bridge is 80 meters long and 3 meters wide. It was built in 1995, using one pylon for suspension, but the pylon was made short so it would not be taller than the nearby church.

The city has also been dealing with the Libeň Bridge (Libeňský most), which joins Libeň and Holešovice. Some people have been pushing for it to become a protected landmark because it is a unique example of a cubist-style bridge, and associated with significant architects. The Culture Ministry is currently considering the status of the bridge.

The bridge needs significant repairs, however, if it is to remain in use. The city has also been considering tearing it down and replacing it with a more modern bridge if the Culture Ministry decides it is not worthy of protection.

Repairs are already planned for the Barrandov Bridge (Barrandovský most). In January the city should name a firm that will analyze the bridge, and after that repairs should begin. The bridge was built between 1978 and ‘88 and was originally named for communist politician Antonín Zápotocký.

Over 130,000 cars and trucks per day use the six-lane bridge made of pre-stressed concrete. The repairs are expected to cost hundreds of millions of crowns and cause traffic problems, as there is no practical alternative route. The repairs are needed since the bridge is at the end of its projected useful life.

The concrete footbridge at Troja collapsed around 13:30 on Dec. 2. The central part, with was a large arch, fell completely int the river, leaving just the entry ramp and its support.

Boats from the local sports complex were used to search for possible victims but only four people are believed to have been injured.

The area has been closed to the public to prevent further injuries.

An examination of the bridge in 2014 showed that corrosion of the steel support cables had weakened the bridge. In 2011, the last time the bridge was repaired, engineers said it had between five and seven years of use left.

The bridge, designed by architect Jiří Stráský, was completed in 1984. It replaced a bridge that was destroyed in a flood in 1981.

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