Libeňský most to be restored

City Hall has decided against tearing down the bridge and will repair it instead

The Prague City Council has decided on a renovation plan for the bridge Libeňský most and has canceled a Kč 2 billion contract for the bridge’s demolition and the construction of a new expanded one, which had been planned by the previous City Hall coalition.

On the recommendation of the Klokner Institute of the Czech Technical University (ČVUT), the framing structure will be replaced during the renovation and the arched part of the bridge will be reinforced with high-quality concrete. The unique cubist bridge will have its first complete repair since its opening in 1928.

“The Klokner Institute considered the economic intensity, the time of construction and the achievement of load-bearing capacity. We have all the facts on the table and we have decided on a particular option for renovation,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě), responsible for transport, said.

“The study clearly showed that we can preserve valuable details such as lamps and staircases, using a maximum of authentic materials and structural elements, while at the same time achieving a long bridge life,” he added. According to the study, the bridge renovation should take about two years and costs about Kč 500 million.

At the same time, the City Council canceled the tender for demolition and for a new bridge. “We have definitively rejected the demolition of the bridge, and the Kč 2 billion order to expand and build a new bridge, which due to the possibility of a sensitive renovation makes no sense,” Scheinherr said.

The City Hall coalition undertook to fix the bridgeas part of its program statement. In November 2018 it commissioned the Klokner Institute study. Experts prepared four options for the renovation, and recommended the replacement of part of the frame and reinforcement of the arched part of the bridge. In line with the expert recommendations, the Transport Committee and Prague City Council decided to implement this option.

Waterproofing and drainage will be improved, and the vaults will be reinforced.

“Solving the future of Libeňský most and the renovation’s time frame will have an impact on the entire Palmovka site and its development, so it is a key urban investment,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague) said.

“The functional and repaired bridge will restore life and allow full-fledged transport links, especially on the Prague 8 side, and will certainly help initiate other municipal and private investments,” he added.

Libeňský most is in very poor condition, and parts are held up with temporarily supports.

The bridgeheads will have to be fully replaced, either with copies or based on the original design drawings, due to the bridge’s emergency state.

“We regularly check the bridge and maintain it, including the temporary support. Also this year we will start with the first repairs, which will use the original building permit and which will accelerate the renovation. The pillars and the foundations will be repaired and reinforced,” Scheinherr said.

During the overall renovations of the vaults, the bridge will have to be closed for transport. This is estimated to occur at the end of 2021. All four options presented by the Klokner Institute showed it was necessary to interrupt transport.

The bridge has never been repaired since it opened 90 years ago. It was gradually loaded with more intensive traffic and was also damaged by floods in 2002.
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.

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 2018 to City Hall’s Transportation Committee by the Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK).

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