alt=”On 3 January 2009 the busy Milady Horákové street at Letná was closed due to the Blanka tunnel construction. (COURTESY)” title=”On 3 January 2009 the busy Milady Horákové street at Letná was closed due to the Blanka tunnel construction. (COURTESY)” class=”image image-thumbnail ” />The construction of the road tunnel Blanka that is underway in Prague’s Střešovice has been under the supervision of archaeologists. The tunnel, which is to be part of the planned Prague ringroad and connect Malovanka with Pelc-Tyrolka, is being built on a site that used to be inhabited in prehistoric times, the news site iDnes.cz reported on Thursday.
“Trained colleagues are watching the excavator digging earth, and they halt the work whenever they notice something that does not belong there,” archaeologist Kateřina Tomková told iDnes.cz
Archeologists expect the site, where a meandering river used to flow some 300,000 years ago, could reveal the remnants of a Palaeolithic settlement, such as stone tools or the fossilized bones of hunted animals. Archaeologists base their expectations on earlier discoveries; five years ago archaeologist Iva Jerichová found part of a mammoth tusk not far from the construction site on the grounds of today’s Prague Castle. The mammoth tusk is now on display at the exhibition Story of Prague Castle.
Right now, archaeologists are supervising construction in the Brusnice brook valley, close to the crossroad of Patočkova and Střešovická streets, where they have already discovered a burial site from the Early Middle Ages.
“That was surprising for us. We found human bones there,” Tomková told iDnes.cz.
Archeologists from the Institue of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences have also uncovered the remnants of a brickyard that was built at the site of the cemetery in the 18th century.
Geologists are also using the construction for their research. In Slavíkova street, they have been able to study a profile of sediments of the Vltava river as deep as 37 meters, iDnes.cz reports.
More traffic restrictions as of Sunday
The tunnel construction has been affecting the traffic flow near the construction sites significantly.
New traffic restrictions are to take effect as of Sunday 1 February when tram operation between the stops Sparta, Hradčanská, Prašný most and Chotkovy sady will be interrupted in both directions until the beginning of July. Trams 1, 8, 18, and 20 will operate on an alternate route around the Prague Castle, ČTK reported Thursday.
The mining authority in Ostrava decided that construction work on the tunnel section in Stromovka can be resumed under the condition the construction site is surrounded with a fence and guarded, the daily Lidové noviny reported on 17 January, quoting the authority’s Deputy Chair Dušan Havel. The mining authority had banned further construction of the tunnel in Stromovka in the middle of October 2008, following two ground cave-ins caused by construction underneath the park.
According to the Czech Tunnelling Association ITA-AITES, the Blanka tunnel system is the largest underground construction project currently being carried out in ČR. It is part of the north-western section of the ringroad, slated for completion in 2011.