The Pedestrian Bridge in Prague’s Smíchov is Falling Apart. Its Function Will Be Replaced by Buses

Marek Tereba

The pedestrian footbridge connecting Prague’s Smíchov Station with Radlická Street will be demolished to make way for the new Smíchov City project. The new bridge is expected to be completed no earlier than 2026, possibly later. In the meantime, a new bus line, number 232, will be introduced to facilitate the daily commute of hundreds of people using the footbridge. However, it is unclear who will bear the costs of the new bus line.

The closure of the footbridge is scheduled for Monday, October 9th, and the dismantling process will follow. The construction of the new Smíchov City district, including a hotel and four buildings forming a banking campus for Česká spořitelna, is the reason behind the removal of the footbridge. The former mayor of Prague 5, Milan Kryl, stated that the bridge needs to be taken down before the construction of Smíchov Terminal, which will provide a new crossing over the railway.

The coordination of the construction plans for Smíchov City and the footbridge seems flawed, resulting in the early closure of the bridge. Initially, the development of the new district was planned to proceed gradually from Na knížecí Station to Smíchov Station. However, the former city council allowed the developer to skip ahead and begin building the banking campus, causing the bridge to become redundant.

A new bus line, number 232, will be introduced as an alternative to the footbridge. This bus line will connect both sides of the area and will operate with a frequency of every 30 minutes, completing the journey in approximately 7 minutes. The line will accept standard Prague transportation tickets, including those used by commuters from the surrounding regions.

The funding of the new bus line has been a subject of intense discussions. While the initial agreement suggested that the costs would be shared between Sekyra Group, the developer, and the Railway Administration, the recent meeting revealed that the city, specifically the Prague Public Transit Company, will cover the operational costs until the end of the year. A new financing arrangement is expected to be in place from the new year onwards, although the details have not yet been finalized.

The closure of the footbridge and the implementation of the new bus line are part of the ongoing transformation of the Smíchov area. The developer, Sekyra Group, acquired the former Smíchov freight station for 2.4 billion CZK in September. The sale of the land by the Czech Railways has been controversial due to allegations of undervaluation and potential misconduct. The remaining land was sold for approximately a quarter billion CZK more than stated in the original agreement.

The footbridge has been in place since the 1930s and has undergone several modifications over the years. It was previously closed in the 1970s and temporarily replaced by a bus line. In the 1990s, the footbridge was renovated, and its structure was reinforced. However, due to the construction of the Mrázovka tunnel, it was shortened in 2002. The recent decision to remove the footbridge and replace it with a bus line is part of the ongoing development in the Smíchov area.