In 2006 work began on a tunnel complex over 3 miles long, underneath the streets of capital city Prague.
The goal is to ease traffic congestion in central Prague.
However, ecological organizations question the benefits of the construction, and Prague citizens have issued a petition requesting that the tunnelling cease.
[Frantisek Polak, Construction Company]:
“The benefits of the tunnel are clear, it will relocate the transit traffic to the underground. About 50 thousand cars a day will use it, and thus those cars will not be on the surface, which is one benefit. Another benefit is that the traffic will be considerably faster, and the third benefit is that it will be safer.”
But Mr. Skalsky, from the ecological organization Arnika, suspects that on the contrary the construction will actually bring more cars into the center, and will also devalue the surrounding area.
Moreover, the ground fell through in several places during tunnelling.
[Martin Skalsky, Arnika Organization]:
“We watched two cases when the construction fell through, once in a park and once on the street, which we consider very dangerous.”
Prague’s citizens are also afraid that the tunnelling will damage their environment, particularly the historic districts of Prague.
On top of that, they are bothered by the persistent shaking and noise.
[Tereza Ricna, College Student]:
“For example we need to work or to study but our heater shakes so loudly that it scares a grown man, and when this continues without end for three-quarters of a year, then you can imagine the stress that it causes.”
In some flats the tunnelling has even caused plaster on the walls to crack.
The ecological organization AutoMat monitors the traffic situation in Prague, and has offered alternatives to the current project, focusing instead on ecological traffic development.
NTD News, Prague, Czech Republic.