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Warsaw. The bridge over the Exhibition Canal is still closed. The neighborhood explains why

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The renovation of a small footbridge at Lake Kamionkowskie in Skaryszewski Park has been a problem for the district authorities for several years. According to the residents, if cars drove this way, no one would allow themselves to “close the bridge indefinitely”. Now the idea of ​​renovation has been rejected in the participatory budget. Reason? It would take two years to do the project alone.

The fact that the bridge is still closed was reminded by a journalist writing, among others, for “Rynek Kolejowy” Jakub Madrjas. “If cars drove this way, no one would allow themselves to close the bridge indefinitely. A pedestrian can always go around, a car cannot. A pedestrian is a second-class citizen. Brum brum” – he wrote on Twitter in response to the information about the rejection of the bridge reconstruction project in the civic budget .

The project entitled “Construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Exhibition Canal along the International Street in the district of Praga Płd.” was reported in the civic budget for 2024. As its author Aleksandra Głowacz described, it was about building a bridge in the place of the damaged and currently closed crossing over the Exhibition Canal at the mouth of Kamionkowskie Lake. The idea was to obtain design documentation and construction in the “design and build” mode.

Modernization project rejected in the participatory budget

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The bridge could be used by all residents who would like to get from Grochowska Street to Skaryszewski Park. It is also a crossing for people moving from Washington Street to Grochowska Street. The implementation was to take eight months, and the cost of modernization – according to estimates – would amount to approximately PLN 990,000.

However, the project was rejected. Why? As indicated in the justification, “according to the position of the Mazowieckie Voivodship Conservator of Monuments (MWKZ) of February 28, 2023, the modernization of the footbridge (…) involves the reconstruction of the sewage and power infrastructure running under the bridge”. MWKZ commissions the excavation of the infrastructure in the field. This, in turn, involves agreeing on technical conditions with network administrators, the State Water Holding, but also with MWKZ, which in turn will increase the costs, which – as stated – significantly exceed those assumed in the civic budget.

“If PGW Wody Polskie submit comments, the reconciliation procedure should be repeated. Therefore, the investment is impossible to implement in one year – the estimated time needed to complete the project is about two years” – it was indicated.

Replacing the surface didn’t help

The footbridge remains closed from October 2022. As the spokesman for Praga Południe, Andrzej Opala, noted, in order to determine whether the bridge is completely safe for pedestrians and cyclists, it was necessary to carry out its tests. “In 2019, the wooden surface was replaced, and in May 2021, the damaged escarpment was repaired and the gradeline of the pavement from the side of Grochowska Street was adjusted to the current level of the bridge. It seemed that these works increased the safety of movement on it. Unfortunately, the foundation of the bridge turned out to be unstable which resulted in its successive settling and tilting. Due to the safety of users, we were forced to close the crossing” – he said in the reply sent to our editorial office.

Bridge over the Exhibition Canal (photo from October 2022)Mateusz Szmelter/tvnwarszawa.pl

READ ALSO: The bridge over the Exhibition Canal in a disastrous condition. It will be closed

The spokesman also pointed out that due to the Veolia main line running under the footbridge (a meter-long hot water pipe for Saska Kępa connected to the bridge) and the telemetry cable (MPWiK’s equipment), the cost of renovation is extremely high. “The project itself will be expensive, as it must involve mining works. Geological surveys of the soil are necessary. Moreover, it requires many consents and permits, completion of documentation, e.g. environmental issues and the need to make arrangements with Veolia,” he said in response.

The cost of the renovation is PLN 3 million. “The investment is waiting for implementation”

“Due to the lack of funds, the investment is waiting for implementation. Very preliminary estimates indicate that the cost of modernization will reach about PLN 3 million and has an upward trend” – said Opala.

As he pointed out, for the time being only the launch of a replacement crossing was an option. “70 meters from the closed footbridge, we launched a safe passage through the canals (…). I personally use it for family walks and a pram with a child and two adults fit easily. We made new and renovated the damaged access pavements to the replacement footbridge” – he described .

Why was the project in the participatory budget rejected? “The resident’s idea could not be implemented, because the mere collection of all the necessary consents, the implementation of the designs and the conduct of tenders for implementation will take more than a year, and the participatory budget assumes that the project must be completed within one year” – explained the spokesman. And he emphasized: “Contrary to all media reports, we do not have any agreement with developers.”

Main photo source: Mateusz Szmelter / tvnwarszawa.pl

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