Unstable subsoil continues pose issues for the D8 motorway that connects Prague to the north of the country. This time difficulties have cropped up with a road section near Prackovice nad Labem, immediately adjacent to the section that was buried under a landslide. As long as the problems are deemed to place traffic safety in jeopardy, the commissioning of the section will have to be delayed.
The latest intended commissioning date is 17 December. “Nobody will be allowed through to there unless the motorway is 100-percent safe,” said transport minister Dan Ťok (ANO). Despite Ťok’s statement, his ministry is sticking, for the time being, with the newest set date while working in tandem with the Road and Motorway Directorate [ŘSD] to find a solution. According to the ŘSD, the motorway section’s embankment subsoil could be stabilised by draining the slope above with the use of gravel strips.
The D8 motorway, meant as a link running from Prague to Ústí nad Labem and through to Germany, has been plagued by unstable subsoil for quite some time. Following heavy rainfall, there was a landslide in June 2013 near Litochovice in the Litoměřice region. The landslip buried about 200 metres of the motorway that was still under construction and damaged nearby railway tracks.
In the words of Miroslava Pošvářová, director of the “Shadow Road and Motorway Directorate”, the threat of a new landslide is not exactly anything that should surprise. “There have been countless warnings in previous months and years regarding subsoil instability affecting the three-kilometre section, including a bridge abutment at one end of this section. Given the risk of slipping soil, the foundations of the bridge are quite unsatisfactory as the stilts are too short,” said the head of the nonprofit organisation founded by transport entrepreneur Radim Jančura.