After completing the controversial Blanka tunnel complex more than a year ago, Prague Town Hall is now considering digging deep into its pockets and constructing another massive tunnel, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. City councillors are hoping that the new project would finally solve traffic problems by completing the city inner ring road.
One exit from Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex by the Prašný most crossroads will be closed temporarily within a few weeks in an effort to combat severe congestion around Vítězné náměstí, a square in Prague 6 that serves as a traffic hub. The Prague 6 authorities say there have been increased traffic jams around the square since last year’s opening of Blanka; these have been exacerbated by roadworks nearby. Leaders at the citywide level first opposed closing the exit but have now accepted the idea.
A truck crash at an entrance to Prague’s Blanka Tunnel complex led the authorities to completely block entry to the tunnel on Wednesday leading to long traffic delays. Traffic later resumed along one lane, a police spokesman confirmed. Vehicles above ground were delayed for about one hour, sources reported.
The operation of the Blanka tunnel complex in Prague costs the city around 20 million crowns a month, deputy mayor of Prague Petr Dolínek told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The controversial tunnel, which cost the tax payers some 43 billion crowns, was opened on September 19 last year. To date, some 30 million vehicles have passed through the tunnel.
More than 30 million motor vehicles made use of Prague’s Blanka Tunnel complex in the first year since it opened, Prague’s Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek said at a press conference on Friday. According to the deputy mayor, drivers “saved” a total of 290 years off their commute; the official said that Prague had not seen an increase in overall traffic and that daily the tunnel cut aboveground traffic in the area by some 13,000 vehicles. In all, the tunnel complex was used by more than 78,000 vehicles per day. Over the course of the year there were 64 traffic accidents in the tunnel; in only four cases were people injured. Not all municipalities are happy with developments, in particular Prague 6, which has seen much higher traffic leading to and from the tunnel.
Prague Municipal Court on Friday announced the bankruptcy of engineering company ČKD Praha Diz, a significant player on domestic and international markets. Nobody in court opposed the proposal from creditors. Insolvency proceedings related to ČKD Praha Diz started already in August. The company has been involved in a long running legal battle with Prague City Hall over completion of the Blanka road tunnel in the capital. An arbitration court at the end of August ruled that Prague City Council did not have to pay 1.7 billion crowns sought by the engineering company in connection with the work.
An arbitration court has ruled that Prague does not have to pay ČKD Praha DIZ roughly 1.7 billion crowns the firm had sought for work on the city’s Blanka Tunnel complex. The company, which provided technology for the infrastructure, sought the amount over an alleged rise in costs when completion of the tunnel was delayed. The company will now have to pay almost 17 million crowns to cover the City of Prague’s legal fees. The court’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed.
A survey by the Technical Administration of Roadways of the Capital of Prague suggests that an average of 75,000 vehicles pass through the city’s Blanka tunnel daily. The most-heavily used section (of three) is the Brusnice tunnel, followed by the Bubeneč section and finally Dejvice tunnel. Traffic above ground improved on major streets such as Milada Horáková, Argentinská and Veletržní, but worsened elsewhere - namely in parts of Dejvice - where routes leading from Vítězne naměstí have become clogged at peak hours. The Blanka tunnel complex was opened last September after several years in delay. The project cost the city more than 40 billion crowns.
Police in Prague have recommended that charges be pressed against a City Hall official in connection with the Blanka tunnel construction project, Czech Television reported on Thursday. Jan Beránek, the one-time head of a City Hall investments department, is accused of agreeing to an overpriced contract that caused over CZK 30 million of damage to the city. The Blanka tunnel was opened last year, four years behind schedule and around CZK 10 billion over-budget.
Two companies have filed a complaint against the city of Prague over unpaid invoices for the construction of the Blanka tunnel. The engineering and construction company IDS and ČKD Praha DIZ, a company which supplied cables for the tunnel, are suing the city for roughly a billion crowns. The news was confirmed by Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek, who said the city hall did not recognize their claims. The controversial tunnel opened in September 2015 after years of delays. Its cost increased from a projected 17.8 billion crowns to 43 billion.