- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Prague’s Smíchov Station Footbridge to Be Demolished for New Development
The iconic pedestrian footbridge connecting Prague’s Smíchov Station with Radlická Street is set to be demolished to make way for the ambitious Smíchov City project. However, the new footbridge is not expected to be completed before 2026, with the possibility of further delays. In the interim, a new bus line, numbered 232, will be introduced to facilitate the daily commute for hundreds of people who relied on the footbridge. Nevertheless, the funding for this new bus line remains uncertain.
The closure of the footbridge is scheduled for Monday, October 9th, followed by the dismantling process. The rationale behind the removal of the footbridge is the construction of the Smíchov City district, which includes a hotel and four buildings forming a banking campus for Česká spořitelna. The former mayor of Prague 5, Milan Kryl, explained that the bridge must be removed before the construction of the Smíchov Terminal, which will provide a new crossing over the railway.
Critics have pointed out the flawed coordination of construction plans between Smíchov City and the footbridge, resulting in the early closure of the bridge. Originally, the development of the new district was planned to progress gradually from Na knížecí Station to Smíchov Station. However, the former city council allowed the developer to proceed with the banking campus construction ahead of schedule, rendering the bridge redundant.
As an alternative to the footbridge, a new bus line, designated as number 232, will be introduced. This bus line will connect both sides of the area and is scheduled to operate with a frequency of every 30 minutes, completing the journey in approximately 7 minutes. The new line will accept standard Prague transportation tickets, including those used by commuters from the surrounding regions.
The funding for the new bus line has been a subject of intense discussion. While the initial agreement suggested that the costs would be shared between the developer, Sekyra Group, and the Railway Administration, recent discussions have revealed that the city, particularly the Prague Public Transit Company, will cover the operational costs until the end of the year. A new financing arrangement is expected to be established in the new year, although the specifics have yet to be finalized.
The closure of the footbridge and the introduction of the new bus line are part of the ongoing transformation of the Smíchov area. Sekyra Group, the developer, acquired the former Smíchov freight station for 2.4 billion CZK in September, a deal that has raised controversy due to allegations of undervaluation and potential misconduct. Additional land was sold for approximately a quarter billion CZK more than originally agreed upon.
The footbridge has been a fixture since the 1930s, with several modifications over the years. It was temporarily closed in the 1970s, replaced by a bus line, before being renovated and reinforced in the 1990s. However, the construction of the Mrázovka tunnel led to its shortening in 2002. The recent decision to remove the footbridge and replace it with a bus line aligns with the ongoing development in the Smíchov area.
Article by Prague Forum