Libeňský most closed due to ‘emergency condition’

Test found that one section was incapable of supporting vehicles weighing five tons

Libeňský most has been closed for all vehicle, tram and bus traffic due to what City Hall called an emergency situation regarding its safety. The bridge will be open for pedestrians and cyclists.

Repairs to Libeňský most (Libeň Bridge) will take at least three weeks.

Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK) based its evaluation of the bridge on diagnostic measurements by the Klokner Institute, part of the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT).

“Part of Libeňský most is in a state of emergency. Before noon [on Jan. 18] we got the first conclusions from the Klokner Institute, which showed the state of one [section] in an emergency state, so that with immediate effect trams or vehicles heavier than five tons are not permitted,” Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) said on the City Hall website.

“It is not possible to ensure that more cars will not appear in the most damaged section of the bridge at the same time and that the five-ton limit will not be exceeded, so the TSK has decided to close it for all traffic,” he added.

The status of Libeňský most has been transferred to category VII, the worst of seven possible grades. This grade indicates an emergency.

“Libeňský most has six sections; the frame construction of one of them is in an emergency state, approximately in the middle of the distance between Palmovka and Maniny. The emergency repair will take at least three weeks, perhaps longer. During this time, there will be no traffic on Libeňský most,” TSK director Petr Smolka said.

"By the end of the month, we will also receive the complete Klokner Institute report with the results of all diagnostic measurements, including a detailed report on the state of the main bridge section across the Vltava River. This will reveal the specific form needed for additional traffic restrictions on the bridge and subsequent work,” he said.

City Hall has set up a free telephone hotline for anyone who would like more information about the bridge closure, 800 100 991. It will be available 24 hours a day.

Ladislav Urbánek of the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) said the trams will make detours and a schedule with new routes will be published Friday, Jan. 19. There will not be a bus replacement, as buses are also banned from the bridge. Some bus routes such as 156 and 201 may be reinforced.

Car drivers are urged to use other bridges.

The move to close the bridge took the administration of Prague 8 by surprise. Prague 8 Mayor Roman Petrus was calling on the city, DPP, TSK and other interested parties to meet with him and give him clear information on how long the bridge will be closed, changes to bus services to compensate and other relevant information.

“It is a very sad state when Libeňský most has to wait for something to happen. However, I perceive this situation as very unfortunate. If the demands of our district were heard, the renovation could have been completed at least a year and a half ago,” Petrus said.

The bridge had been in danger of demolition, but the city last year decided to preserve it due to its architectural value. The bridge was saved in large part to efforts of the public, calling for it to be repaired rather than replaced as it was associated with significant architects and is a unique example of a cubist-style bridge.

The concrete bridge was designed by architects Pavel Janák and František Mencl. It replaced a wooden bridge built in 1903. Libeňský most opened April 29, 1928, for the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia.

The bridge was originally Masarykův most, and was called Baxův most in 1939 and '40, and then Libeňský most from 1940 to '45, then Baxův most again from 1945 to '52. It was Stalingradský most from 1952 to '62 and then Libeňský most since then.

The closure of Libeňský most was announced the same day that a separate report on the state of Prague’s 700 bridges came out, finding that one-fifth were in poor, very poor or emergency condition.

Related article:
Prague has 125 bridges in a poor state - Prague.TV, 18.01.2018

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