Ten years in the making. 43 billion Czech crowns, more than double the original estimate. It’s the most expensive project in the history of the city of Prague.
The Blanka tunnel is a 6+ kilometer complex actually made up of three separate tunnels that will connect Prague 6 and 7 in hopes of diverting automotive traffic away from the city’s historic center.
After construction started in 2006, the complex was originally set to open in 2011. Numerous delays, however, have seen that date pushed back nearly half a decade.
A December 2, 2014 opening date was pushed to later this year after it was discovered that wiring in the tunnel had been damaged by water and needed to be replaced.
After four years of delays, however, the Blanka Tunnel is finally ready to open September 20.
The only catch, according to Metro.cz, is that the tunnel must undergo a final month of testing before it will be operational.
But nothing further can go wrong, right? As long as everything checks out, the tunnel will open to traffic on Sunday, September 20.
The tunnel has become something of a joke among residents of Prague, and even President Zeman has expressed dissatisfaction with the project, saying that he will not attend the opening ceremony.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that the Prague Philharmonic would perform at the tunnel entrance on August 20, but few details about any such concert have been subsequently made available.
Why the Sunday opening, five days later than the original (cough) date of September 15?
“If we manage to open the tunnel on Sunday, drivers will have enough time until Monday to get used to the expected operation,” Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Transport Petr Dolínek told Metro.cz.
Sounds about right.