Prague's Bridge Assessment Procedure Under Scrutiny

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Following the dangerous collapse of Troja bridge earlier this month, which left two people in the hospital, the Technical Communications Administration's (TSK) process for assessing the safety of the city's bridges has come under scrutiny. On the scale of one to seven, Troja was categorized only a six, which is 'very poor' but not deemed an 'emergency'. 

The system of categorization works as follows:

  1. perfect condition 
  2. very good 
  3. good 
  4. satisfactory  
  5. poor 
  6. very poor
  7. emergency

TSK manages 651 bridges and footbridges across the city. Just 513 Prague bridges fall into categories one to four and so are perfect, good or satisfactory condition. 137 of them score poor or very poor, whilst one is in a state of emergency. 

Butovická footbridge is the only bridge categorized as 7, or 'emergency'. However, it is still open for use. Barbara Lišková explained that this categorization is due to the danger the crumbling concrete poses to those walking below the bridge, rather than anyone walking on top of it and the parking lot below the bridge has been closed. 

So, with so many bridges scoring poorly in assessment, should we be worried about another bridge falling? Petr Dolínek (CSSD), Deputy Mayor for Transport said, "No. It means they should be checked more often. The bridge may be in poor condition, but it does not mean it is an emergency, and it does not mean it will fall. But as we have seen at the Trojská bridge, we do not yet know what happened to the bridge and why it collapsed."  

Worst bridges:

- Liben Bridge: very bad

- Hlávka bridge: bad

- Charles Bridge: Satisfactory to Bad

- Legion Bridge: Bad

- Palacky Bridge: very bad

- Barrandov Bridge: Bad

- Barikádníků Bridge: Satisfactory

Author: Jessica Kleyn

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