February 3, 2023

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Index – Abroad – One of Prague’s most popular attractions could be demolished

The proposal caused a strong emotional response among local activists and the Prague City Council, who want the original building, which has the status of a national monument, to be preserved. More than 6,000 people have signed a petition to save the 120-year-old building. – wrote A Guardian.

As a result of the furor, Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka convened an extraordinary meeting of bridge engineers and the railway board to address the issue.

Designed by the late Habsburg era Czech engineer František Brazl, the bridge was built in 1901 and spans the Vltava River. Major rail services between Prague and other European cities including Munich pass through it. The bridge is located in an area declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, and has become a popular attraction for pedestrians and cyclists who can use the two pedestrian walkways on either side of the bridge.

However, the railway insists that erosion will make the bridge too complicated and expensive to refurbish and maintain, while building an additional track to the two existing lines and building a new local station nearby.

Critics say the bridge’s poor condition is the result of the administration not prioritizing renovations since it was declared a national monument in 2004.

Last November, a design competition among Czech architects to replace the bridge selected the most modern design based on the existing bridge.

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Feasibility studies commissioned by the Prague City Council concluded that, contrary to the railway company’s claims, preserving the bridge was “technically feasible” and that its structure was “structurally capable of handling future rail traffic, including increased rail traffic and more trains”. density”.

It is an integral part of the city’s skyline

Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, responsible for the city’s transport infrastructure and cultural attractions, said:

The most important thing about the bridge is that it belongs to the Prague panorama and the people of Prague cannot imagine the city without it. When you watch movies set in Prague, this bridge is always present.

According to Richard Biegel, chairman of the Historic Preservation Committee for Old Prague and an architectural historian at Karolyi University, the Railway Board’s plans They exhibit a “lack of empathy”..

This bridge is iconic. The Eiffel Tower is as important to Paris as it is to Prague. It is very important as a reminder of the period of industrial revolution

he said.

John Nevola, a spokesman for the railway company, said the new bridge was needed because it would be unrealistic to renovate the existing bridge.

Its condition is so poor that it is basically a replica with more than 60 percent new parts. However, this approach is very expensive, does not allow for traffic growth, and extends its life for only a few decades

he said.

Ian Firth, a senior structural engineer specializing in bridge design, co-wrote the 2021 report, which recommended keeping the structure as a pedestrian or single-rail facility. Low railway bridge.

They don’t care. They have already decided. It is a shame to demolish this bridge as it is a magnificent piece of work. Imagine the outcry around the world if London’s Tower Bridge was declared unfit for traffic and the authorities decided to demolish it and build another in its place. Same scene

said Firth.