Highway to Dresden will open for 2016 Christmas markets

D8 motorway should have been completed in 2010; work began over 25 years ago

Prague, Aug 28 (ČTK) — Motorway D8 to Germany will be opened to traffic before the end of next year so that it can be used for travelling to the Christmas Markets in Dresden in 2016, Czech Transport Minister Dan Ťok said after today’s meeting with his German counterpart Alexander Dobrindt.

The Dresden motorway, also called the Teplice motorway, should have been completed by 2010, according to the project, but it has grappled with protests of environmentalists and later with a landslide.

“Before the summer holidays, the government took steps to remove all administrative obstacles,” Ťok said.

Nothing stands in the way of the deadline set at the end of next year to be met. Companies taking part in the construction work also promise they will stick to the deadline, he added.

The ministers today also discussed the possibility to connect both countries with high-speed railway that should serve for passenger and freight transport, Ťok said.

The railway connection is in the stage of preparations and its implementation is a matter of fifteen to twenty years. However, if the preparations do not begin already now, construction of high-speed railway line will not begin after these twenty years, he added.

“We need the cross-border section that will be the most expensive to get into the Federal plan for transport so that the project can progress and in the future can be financed from EU funds,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after talks with Dobrindt.

This is the path how to connect the Czech Republic with the European high-speed transport network, he noted.

The second priority is railway connection between Prague, Nuremberg and Munich where the Czech Republic invests into the modernization of a railway line from Prague to Plzen and prepares also modernization of another section on the border with Bavaria. It needs the work to be launched also on the German side.

As for water transport, Ťok has gained Dobrindt’s support to making the Labe (Elbe) River navigable for the whole year. The Czech side would like this to be achieved by means of building a weir in Děčín.

Dobrindt has also invited Czech experts to a working group dealing with the Federal plan for transport infrastructure. The Czech side will thus be able to present more easily its arguments by projects important for Czech transport.

Construction of motorway D8 from Prague to Ústí nad Labem and further to the German border is under way for over 25 years. The first section was opened on Nov. 6, 1990.

Environmentalists started blocking the construction several years later, while towns which have to cope with heavy lorry transport called for its fast completion.

The landslide occurred near Litochovice in the Litoměřice district last year in June. It covered some 200 meters of the motorway under construction.

In the first stage, workers removed tens of thousands of tons of soil. The Road and Motorway Directorate (ŘSD) expects the second stage of the cleanup to end in the middle of next year.

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