PHOTO GALLERY: Štvanická footbridge undergoes final stress tests

The bridge linking Holešovice and Karlín will open to the public in July, once it is certified as safe.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 23.06.2023 13:54:00 (updated on 23.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The footbridge connecting Holešovice with Karlín via Štvanice ostrov is completed and now undergoing tests before it can open to the public later this summer. Bridge specialists from construction firm Skanska loaded the 300-meter-long structure with trucks and then rocked it in a controlled manner to simulate its extreme load.

Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska
Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska

"At last, we are entering the final stage with the construction of the Štvanická footbridge. If all load tests go well, the footbridge will open to the public in July," Prague Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, responsible for transportation, said in a press release.

"The Štvanická footbridge is a truly unique structure, both in terms of construction and the materials used. Many things on the construction site are completely new even from the point of view of very experienced builders," Hřib added.

Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska
Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska

The new bridge has long been nicknamed HolKa – a portmanteau of Holešovice and Karlín, the two neighborhoods that it will connect. Holka is the Czech word for "girl." Construction is complete, a railing with lighting has been installed, and work is being done on the connection to the surrounding roads and landscaping.

Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska
Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska

"By putting the footbridge into operation, we will make the journey more pleasant and shorter for many Prague residents and visitors. So let's keep our fingers crossed for the construction experts until the final finish," Hřib said.

Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska
Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska

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Skanska project manager Michal Kunc said static tests used trucks with a total weight of over 70 tons, and dynamic tests used vibration exciter with a half-ton weight. "We will use the data from both tests to precisely set the vibration dampers that will be built into the footbridge. Immediately after the tests, we will also start with the final treatment of the surfaces," Kunc said.

Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska
Stress test on the HolKa footbridge. Photo: Skanska

Petr Tej, one of the bridge’s architects. said the static and dynamic load tests are the last milestone before putting the footbridge into operation. "From Prague's point of view, this will create an essential link between Holešovice and Karlín," Tej said, adding that the project "is mainly a continuation of the ongoing reconstruction of Bubenské nábřeží in Holešovice, the connection to the A2 cycle path in Karlín and the ongoing recultivation of part of Štvanice ostrov."

HolKa pedestrian bridge via Facebook / Adam Scheinherr
Original visualization of the HolKa bridge from 2020. Photo: Facebook / Adam Scheinherr

The new bridge will save people a significant amount of travel time. Going from riverside hangout Přístav 18600 to Pražská tržnice (Prague Market) will become a five-minute walk instead of a journey involving two public transport vehicles.

Construction of the white ultra-high-quality concrete bridge began in January 2022. The walking width is four meters, and three meters at the ramp to Štvanice Island. The bridge will be lit by LED strips hidden in the handrail, so there will be no unnecessary light pollution.

The project was originally announced in 2020 with an opening date of 2022, but it faced several delays due to the pandemic and other factors. Bridge safety became an issue when a footbridge to Prague Zoo collapsed in 2017. It has since been replaced with another one, and several other Prague bridges and overpasses are being reinforced.

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