Footbridges on Výtoň railway bridge to close due to restoration work

The Railway Administration says that both footbridges will be out of operation at different times, meaning that one will always be accessible. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 28.08.2023 14:32:00 (updated on 28.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Railway Administration is set to enhance the safety monitoring system of the railway bridge spanning the Vltava River in Prague, from Výtoň to Smíchov, due to the bridge's deteriorating condition. A vital step in this process will involve the periodic closure of one of the footbridges to facilitate the installation of new technology.

The decision to impose pedestrian restrictions on the railway bridge was made public by the Railway Administration through an announcement on their official website. To fortify the current sensor-based system on the railway bridge beneath Vyšehrad, an initiative led by the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague will contribute by integrating additional acoustic emission sensors.

Necessary work

The Railway Administration revealed that this operation will also encompass an extra diagnostic survey, focusing particularly on the critical nodes located in the diagonal sections at the lower waist of the bridge's supporting structure. To identify any potential signs of material fatigue, the nodes will undergo a thorough cleaning process through abrasive blasting.

The implementation of these upgrades is scheduled to take place over a specific timeline. Starting from Aug. 28 and continuing until Oct. 1, the northern footbridge will be temporarily closed to the public. Following this, the closure will shift to the southern footbridge, with access restrictions in effect from Oct. 2 to Nov. 12.

Contemplating the future of the bridge, divergent opinions have surfaced. While an expert group proposed the construction of a new bridge, a faction advocates for the restoration of the existing structure rather than opting for its demolition. 

Demolish or restore?

Plans for renovating the railway bridge across the Vltava in Prague were unveiled in 2022, and they received a negative reaction from preservationists. The bridge is one of many that was found to be in poor technical shape after the collapse of a footbridge in 2017 sparked an investigation.

The bridge at Výtoň has been protected cultural heritage since 2004. A contest to renovate the bridge and add a third track was announced in 2021. The winning design preserved the support pillars in the river but would replace virtually everything else.

As the deteriorating railway bridge over the Vltava River prompts proactive measures, the Railway Administration's decision to bolster the safety monitoring system by incorporating advanced technology showcases its commitment to ensuring the integrity of critical infrastructure. The ongoing debates about the future of the bridge underscore the complexity of balancing historical value with the imperative for modern and secure infrastructure.

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