How to avoid a traffic nightmare during Prague's 'renovation of the century'

The first phase of repairs to the Barrandov Bridge will take 110 days and impact traffic across the city. Here's what you need to know.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 11.05.2022 15:44:00 (updated on 14.05.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Update:  More details have been revealed about the repair to the Barrandov Bridge (Barrandovský most), which begins May 16. The first 10 days are expected to cause the most difficulties for drivers, with Strakonická Street as the main bottleneck.

Due to the demolition of a bridge ramp, Strakonická Street will narrow to one lane near the bridge. Equipment and material will take up one lane on Strakonická Street where the cars pass the Barrandov Bridge. "Now there is one lane for cars and another for buses. In those first 10 days, there will be one lane for everyone together," Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr said.

It will not be possible to enter Barrandov Bridge from Strakonická Street for 110 days due to the demolition of the ramp.

Scheinherr added that drivers should use apps that provide up-to-date traffic information. Probably the most popular is the Waze application, navigation from Google Maps, or the popular Czech app Mapy.cz.

To ensure traffic flow, a specially dedicated 24-hour towing service will be at the edges of the bridge and should be able to respond to breakdowns in several minutes.

The operation of the Nextbike and Rekola shared bicycles will be newly extended to the areas of Komořany, Zbraslav, Velká Chuchle, and Radotín. The P3 ferry between Dvorce and Lihovar will operate at an increased schedule to make it easier for cyclists to get from one side of the river to the other, as the cycle lanes on the bridge will be closed.

Drivers are asked to use detours or public transit whenever possible. Details are below in our original story below.

Original story:

Renovations are about to begin on Prague’s Barrandov Bridge (Barrandovský most), the busiest bridge in the Czech Republic and the third-busiest bridge in Central Europe.

From May 16, this year’s part of the multi-year project will see traffic snarled for three and a half months as the bridge will remain partially open for the entire duration of repairs.

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What does this mean for your morning commute and will the repair work have a deeper impact when it comes to getting around Prague via car or public transport?

Computer models show that traffic will be congested not only near the bridge but also in the center and other areas of the city such as Prague 4, 5, and 12. It's anticipated that drivers will cross the Vltava at bridges closer to the city center such as Palackého most or Jiráskův most. The exact impact will not be known until work actually starts.

In 2022 work will be carried out in the right half of the southern part of the bridge in the direction from Smíchov to the south junction (jižní spojka) of the inner ring road and on the arrival ramp in Strakonice, which will be demolished and replaced with a new one. The lower part of the Barrandov ramp and the lower part of the bridge over Strakonická Street will also be repaired.

Traffic experts say that the worst traffic jams will happen in the first days of the repairs as people try to follow their original routes, and will settle down a bit as drivers find alternatives that suit them.

Drivers can expect to see traffic signs for the first phase being installed starting May 14. The actual work will begin two days later and should take about 110 days and end on Aug. 31, 2022.

Throughout the four phases of the repairs, three lanes will be open to drivers in each direction instead of the current four lanes, according to the Technical Roadway Administration (TSK), which is overseeing the repairs.

The bridge should be relatively passable during off-hours but at peak traffic times, delays of up to half an hour could result from the closure of two lanes.

  • Drivers should use the marked detour along the Prague ring road and cross the river at Lahovický most. Head to Prague from the Písnice exit or from the Vestec exit, or take the D1 motorway to the center.
  • A previously closed ramp between Písnice and Dolní Břežany will be reopened so drivers Prague 4 and 12 can head west on the Prague Ring Road rather than using the Barrandov Bridge.
  • A ramp near Lihovar will be opened for drivers coming from the south along Strakonická.
  • Three intersections have been rebuilt to increase the bridge capacity at Most Závodu míru (Peace Race Bridge), which crosses the Vltava at Zbraslav.

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Traffic complications on the Barrandov Bridge will also affect other areas of Prague including speed reduction in the Blanka tunnel. Depending on the current traffic situation commuters can expect a reduction in speed (from the usual 70 to 50 km/h).

In order to decrease congestion, the city is encouraging people to switch to public transport. Adjustments have been made to the routes of tram lines 7 and 21, and once construction work starts on the bridge, capacity on line 21 will be increased to meet an expected increase in demand.

Bus line 125 will have its route shortened, and a new connecting bus called X125 will go from Smíchovské nádraží to Jižní Město. A regularly updated list of public transit changes can be found here.

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The city is calling the project the “renovation of the century.” The bridge, crossed by about 140,000 cars daily, has not had significant repairs since it went into service in 1988. The complete four-phase renovation will last until 2025, with work taking place for between 80 and 110 days each year.

City officials say they want to avoid another incident similar to the Troja footbridge or Genoa bridge collapse, both of which were similar structures that fell due to neglect.

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