TE 6 – Historical and technically interesting bridges, south part of Prague and Central and Southern Bohemia

Date: 3 October 2023, 8:00–18:00 EN, FR, ES, CZ

Závodu míru Bridge, Zbraslav

The original Zbraslav Bridge was a 3-span iron bridge (42 m + 62.6 m + 42 m), which was built in 1896. In 1964, this was replaced by a new reinforced concrete bridge a little further downstream. This 210 m long bridge has a single arch spanning 75 m, and three piers on each side. Its 9 m wide roadway sits approximately 12 m above the river. On the left bank it crosses over road II/102, and on the right bank the Prague – Vrané nad Vltavou – Čerčany/Dobriš railway line. It is the first arch bridge in the world to be built using self-supporting welded reinforcement mesh (without requiring formwork). The very first users to cross it were cyclists competing in the “Peace Race” (hence the name “Závod míru” in Czech).

Vltavanů Bridge, Davle

The original steel truss bridge over the Vltava at Davle dates from 1905 and has a total length of 141 m. Two of the bridge’s spans are parabolic arches of roughly 58 m in length, and the third is a straight span of 27.6 m. Its deck lies below the arches. In 1968 it was used (and considerably damaged) in the filming of the American war movie The Bridge at Remagen. Since 1995 it has been used as a footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

In 1991, the new Vltavanů Bridge, with five spans covering a total of 281 m, was opened on road II/104. It was built by incrementally launching the superstructure, and the bridge has the largest span (80 m) yet achieved using this technique in the Czech Republic. The structural height of the bridge ranges from 6 to 18 m, and it is 12.4 m wide.

Dr. Edvard Beneš Bridge, Štěchovice

This bridge was built in 1937 – 1939, and was the first bridge structure in Czechoslovakia to have two hollow concrete arches (spanning 114 m) with a deck suspended below. It was also Czechoslovakia’s first reinforced concrete bridge with a span of over 100 m. In its day, it was a notable construction, even on a European scale. It is 9.2 m wide, with an arch rise of 12 m above the deck. The arches have a cross-section of 1.75×1.60 m.

Žďákov Bridge

This structurally exceptional work of civil engineering was built in 1967 to carry road I/19 across Orlík Reservoir on the Vltava River. With a total length of 543 m, this two-hinged arch bridge has a solid-ribbed steel arch, with a span between the hinges of 330 m and from pier to pier of 379.6 m. The rise of its arch is 45 m and the deck is at an elevation of 110 m relative to the valley floor (about 50 m above the water’s surface). The 5.0 m wide arch ribs have a box beam cross-section with a width of 1.0 m between sides. In its time, it was the largest solid-ribbed steel two-hinged arch bridge in the world.

The Zvíkov Bridges over the Otava and Vltava rivers

The two bridges at Zvíkov, on the road from Mirotice to Milevsko, rank among the highest in the country. They are 252 m long, 10 m wide, and stand 70–75 m above the valley floor (30 m above the level of the dammed reservoir). Construction of the bridges during the filling of the Orlík Reservoir was made possible by using the then modern cast-in-situ free cantilever method on a prestressed concrete structure. Two identical bridges (except for the height of the piers) were thus designed and built with spans of 42 m + 84 m + 84 m + 42 m. Their three-sided box girders vary in height from 5.1 m at the piers to 1.9 m in the centre of the spans.


Písek Stone Bridge

This bridge is also unofficially known as Stag Bridge, based on a medieval legend that it was to be named after the first to cross it to the other side of the Otava River, and this turned out to be a stag. However, in 2007 a decision was passed that the bridge would officially be called Písek Stone Bridge. The bridge is thought to have been built in the 3rd quarter of the 13th century during the reign of Ottokar II of Bohemia, but the earliest written records of it date back only to 1348. An interesting fact is that it was actually built on dry land, and the river was then artificially diverted into a new channel passing under the bridge only after its completion. The bridge is 109.75 m long, including the walled section on its left-bank approach, and 6.25 m wide, of which the roadway covers 4.5 m. It stands on six piers and has seven arches. Six of these survive from the original bridge (with spans of 7.0­­–8.2 m). The seventh was built in 1768 as a segmental arch with a span of 13 m, and was designed for timber rafts to pass through.

Podolí Bridge

This bridge was built near the village of Podolí in South Bohemia in 1939 – 1943 to replace an old chain bridge from 1848, which was dismantled in 1960 during the creation of Orlík Reservoir and then rebuilt over the Lužnice River near the village of Stádlec. Its design received acclaim at an architectural exhibition in Paris in 1937, where it won the Gold Medal and was named Le beau pont de l’Europe (“Europe’s Beautiful Bridge”), and went on to win further recognition in 1939 at an exhibition in Liège, in Belgium. The bridge is 510 m long and is composed of a number of arches, the largest of which spans 150 m, while at its end the span is 36.65 m. Six of its piers are on the right bank of the Vltava, but on the left it has only two. It is only 8.5 m wide (6.5 m roadway plus two 1-meter walkways). The bridge carries an important first-class highway (road I/29) connecting the towns of Písek and Tábor, with the roadway passing at a height of 55–65 m above the river.


Bechyně Rainbow Bridge

This unique reinforced concrete arch bridge crosses the Lužnice River on the eastern edge of Bechyně. It is a combined bridge for road and rail traffic, carrying both road II/122 (Týn nad Vltavou – Bechyně – Opařany) and the Tábor – Bechyně electric rail line. The railway track is laid along the eastern edge of the roadway (on the upstream side of the bridge). In 2014 the bridge was declared a national cultural monument.

The electric rail line between Tábor and Bechyně was built in 1902 – 1903 according to a design by František Křižík. However, the Bechyně terminal station was built outside the town on the left bank of the Lužnice River while Bechyně itself is on the right bank. Discussions about the bridge’s potential construction and preparation of a detailed design began in 1924, and on 15 November 1925 the Ministry of Public Works commissioned its construction. Work began in May 1926 and was completed in the summer of 1928. The bridge is built from reinforced concrete, has a structural height of almost 60 metres above the river, totals 190.50 m in length, and is 8.9 m wide. Its main arch has a span of 90 m and a rise of 38 m.

Stádlec Chain Bridge

This bridge was originally built across the Vltava River at Podolí by Vojtěch Lanna in 1847 – 1848 according to a design by the civil engineers Gassner and B. Schnirch. The bridge was in use there for many years, until in 1960 the Orlík Reservoir was created, and the bridge – which at that time was already a cultural monument – would have been submerged as it filled. It was therefore decided to carefully dismantle and document the bridge, and relocate it outside of the flooded valley. From several possible locations, a picturesque spot was chosen on the Lužnice River, on the road between the villages of Stádlec and Dobřejice, and it has been in service at this location since its inauguration on 25 May 1975. The basic superstructure of the bridge consists of four chains arranged in pairs, which are attached to two stone pylons in the form of 13 m high gateways. The deck is made of oak planks newly refitted in 2007. Only vehicles up to 1.5 t are allowed to drive on the bridge, and posts at the gateways also limit the width of vehicles to 2 m. The total length of the bridge is 157 m.

Švehla’s Bridge, Tábor

This road bridge over the Lužnice River in the western part of Tábor, below Kotnov Castle, lies on road II/137 in the direction of Malšice and Sudoměřice u Bechyně. It is 167 m long, and its arch rises 25 m above the river. It was built in the 1930s in 16 months, and was inaugurated on 28 October 1935.

Excursion programme:
Bus 1 – A
08.00 – 08.50
transfer from Prague Congress Centre to Lahovice – stop at Radotínský
08.50 – 09.40
transfer to the Závodu míru Bridge to Zbraslav and Davle – stop at the bridge
Vltavanu (ČSPH Petrol)
09.40 – 11.30
crossing to the Dr. Edvard Beneš Bridge in Štěchovice and to the Žďákov Bridge –
stop at the bridge
11.30 – 12.15
crossing to the Zvíkovský Bridge over the Vltava River and to the Zvíkovský Bridge over the
Otava, stop
12 15.15 – 13.30
crossing to Písek, Stone Bridge, stop for refreshment
13.30 – 14.15
crossing to Podolsko Bridge, stop
14.15 – 15.45
crossing to Bechyně – walk to the Rainbow Bridge, crossing to Stádlce,
stop at the Chain Bridge
15.45 – 16.30
crossing to Tábor to the A. Švehly and to the bridge over the Jordan Pond
16.30 – 18.00
transfer from Tábor to the Prague Congress Centre with the possibility of one short
one stop

Bus 2 – F+S
The same programme as bus 1 but in the exact opposite direction.

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