Libeňský most gets a reprieve

The new City Council wants to repair rather than replace the troubled bridge

The bridge Libeňský most now is likely to be renovated, rather than torn down. The new City Council has decided to loot at different options on how to repair the bridge and will decide on further steps in the spring.

The bridge crosses the Vltava river and connects Holešovice in Prague 7 to Libeň in Prague 8. It was found to be in emergency condition, the worst structural rating, after an examination in January, and temporarily closed to cars and trams for two months until it could be supported from underneath.

“We are implementing a program statement and a pre-election promise that we would immediately approve a plan for the renovation of Libeňský most and further steps to its rescue. Thanks to the coalition agreement, the degradation of the bridge will be stopped by basic repairs, which will be visually noticeable next year,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě) said on the City Hall website.

“Due to the preparatory work and a study, we can evaluate the best option for Libeňský most. We are giving a clear signal that after 90 years of nobody paying attention to the bridge, we will treat it with the care it deserves so much,” he added.

The repair of the outer areas, the stairs, lamp posts and railings will begin with the aim of stopping the degradation of the bridge and restoring its dignified appearance.
After selecting one option for bridge repair, a workshop will be organized to examine a solution for the part of the bridge extending beyond the river, with an emphasis on flood protection and traffic in the Palmovka area.

Whether to repair or replace the bridge has been a hot topic since it was found to be on such poor condition. Supporters of repair claim it is a unique example of modernist architecture applied to a bridge, despite it not having protected landmark status. Those favoring replacement claim it is outdated and lacks the capacity needed to connect the two busy city sections.

The concrete bridge was designed by architects Pavel Janák and František Mencl, and it opened April 29, 1928, for the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia.

The bridge was originally called 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 concern for the city’s bridges came after the footbridge in Troja collapsed Dec. 2, 2017, injuring four people, two seriously. The footbridge linked Stromovka park with the Troja Chateau and Prague Zoo. It was popular in the summer with people strolling in the park and with bikers. Luckily, the collapse was in cold weather when it had less use.

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 Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK).

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