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Official: Crashed Prague footbridge’s condition poor, not critical

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Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – The technical condition of the footbridge in Prague-Troja that crashed on Saturday was not good, but it was not critical and nothing indicated it was going to crash, Petr Smolka, from the city hall’s road management body and Vaclav Hvizdal, from the Pontex company, told journalists on Sunday.

The concrete suspension bridge broke down on Saturday afternoon and a part of it fell in the Vltava River.

The accident, the cause of which is unknown for the time being, is being investigated by the police, assisted by a court expert.

Four people were injured in it, two of them seriously.

A provisional bridge is to replace the crashed one soon to connect the right bank’s Troja neighbourhood with the Cisarsky island on the Vltava, Prague councillor Petr Dolinek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said Sunday.

The injured people will receive financial compensation, he said.

According to Dolinek, a provisional solution to bridge the river in the locality may be either a pontoon or a steel-construction bridge.

The City Hall is also ready to cover the costs of a ferry, if launched between the two banks, Dolinek said, but added that the river’s shallowness in this section may be an obstacle to this.

Hvizdal said experts had been constantly doing electronic monitoring of the technical condition of the footbridge built in 1984. In addition, all its parts were checked twice a year.

“For the whole time, until Saturday, 13:16, none of the data mainly the bridge structure deflection, showed any marked change that would indicate [the threat of] the footbridge’s crash. In this case, something happened that we are unable to identify for now,” Hvizdal, from the Pontex company dealing with bridge constructions, said.

The footbridge consisted of concrete segments carried by steel cables. Some of the secondary cables were partly damaged, but calculations showed that this does not pose a threat to safety, Hvizdal said.

However, the main cables were never checked, since the bridge’s structure made such a check impossible, he said.

The City Hall previously planned to replace the footbridge by 2020, as it was impossible to repair, Dolinek said.

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