Preparations for Prague’s infamous Blanka tunnel complex, which keeps traffic through the city underground and off of busy central streets, began shortly after the formation of the country in 1993.
Construction began in 2006, and after years of delays – the project was originally planned to be finished in 2011 – it finally opened last year at a final price tag of 43 billion CZK, more than double the original estimate.
But with Blanka finally finished – and doing its job, at least according to an advertising campaign – what’s a Praguer to complain about?
Well, here comes part II.
You see, the Blanka complex – actually three long tunnels that make up the largest underground city tunnel in Europe – is part of Prague’s “ring” road that goes both through and around the city.
And the “ring,” currently, is only a half-complete semi-circle.
Now, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek wants to complete the circle, writes iHned.cz.
Blanka II – not the official name of the complex, begs city officials – would pick up where the current tunnel ends in Holešovice and continue under Libeň in Prague 8 and Skalka in Prague 10.
The estimated price tag comes in at around 50 billion crowns, but this time officials are being cautious.
“It could be more,” warns Dolínek.
At this stage, the Blanka II project is only in its earliest phase: the city is preparing to launch a design competition early next year, and hopes to choose a winner by 2018.
After that, planning for the project would take at least 1.5 years – so construction, which could last a decade, going by the previous project, is unlikely to begin before 2020.
Still, Dolínek is optimistic.
“We’re talking about the next ten years, when it could happen,” he told iHned.