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  3. The Pomorskie Bridges are already open in new splendour! The repair took three years

The Pomorskie Bridges are already open in new splendour! The repair took three years

Tomasz Wysocki,

The Pomorskie Bridges are already open in new splendour! The repair took three years

On Monday 30th January 2023, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and public transport vehicles returned to the Pomorskie Bridges. This important crossing was put to use after its reconstruction ahead of time. The repair lasted almost three years and cost around 70 million PLN.

‘It is the first of the great investments that we have finished this year. The rebuilt and reinforced bridges will serve us for decades. We carried out all works under the supervision of a monument conservator. We have given old-new bridges to inhabitants,’ said Jacek Sutryk, Mayor of Wroclaw, during a press conference.

‘The Southern Pomorski Bridge gained the most – not only have we rebuilt pinnacles with lampposts, but we have hidden the heating pipes marring the beauty of this structure under the bottom of the Oder. It was a big engineering challenge. Thanks to this, we can now admire the gargoyles that look at the current of the Oder again,’ added the mayor.

The reconstruction covered the Southern Pomorski Bridge built in 1905, the Central Pomorski Bridge (consisting of the Eastern Bridge built in 1885 and the Western Bridge built in 1930) and the Northern Pomorski Bridge built in 1930. Trams and buses have a separate lane, which can be used only by taxicabs and privileged vehicles.

Another fragment of ul. Pomorska has been renovated, too. It includes, altogether, 730 metres of the new roadway, new pavements and bike routes. Over 1,300 metres of rails and three turnouts have been laid. Two new Viennese stops were created: Mosty Pomorskie at the intersection with ul. Księcia Witolda. The stops have names. They will improve the transport connections of this region even further.

The repair of Pomorskie bridges: figures are impressive

The entire network infrastructure has been rebuilt, and the bridge structures have been reinforced.

‘The tunnel dug under the bottom of the Oder River, in which the thermal pipeline was placed, is 146 metres long. It was built of seamless pipes upon special order completed in South Korea. The heating pipe runs on a depth of 15.5 metres. It is situated so deep because we bypassed the bridge structure protection devices,’ says Wojciech Kaim, the project manager from Wrocławskie Inwestycje supervising works at Pomorskie Bridges.

On the Southern Pomorski Bridge, the structure was reinforced by making a reinforced concrete jacket. 136 tons of reinforced steel and 988 cubic metres of concrete were used for its construction.

Figures from the Northern Pomorski Bridge are also imposing. A new bridge plate was built there using 208 tons of reinforced and structural steel and 337 cubic metres of concrete.

On the Central Pomorski Bridge, 17 tons of reinforced and structural steel and 50 cubic metres of concrete were used for its construction. The construction of the Eastern bridge was disassembled and renovated, and then it returned to its place.

One interesting fact is that a barrier with machine gun bullet holes has been preserved. ‘It is one of a few witnesses to the history at these crossings. We decided to leave it on the bridge as a memento of the fights for Festung Breslau,’ tells Piotr Paś, the president of Wrocławskie Inwestycje.

The Southern Bridge already holds the title of the most beautiful Wroclaw crossing. Designed by famous Karl Klimm, it refers to the historical tradition of medieval bridges. Hence the presence of clinker arches – watchtowers referring to toll collection points. This bridge was built in 1905, so toll was not collected there, but the watchtowers look impressive.

‘As you may remember, the structures were covered with building paper, and the watchtowers were grey and black with dirt, soot and ashes not a long time ago. As a result of works, the Radków sandstone from which they are made was manually cleaned by stonemasons, and the missing parts were supplemented,’ explains Mayor Jacek Sutryk.

The bridges are provided with networks and prepared for commercial activity. The original name ‘Werder-Brücke’ was restored to the eastern watchtower. The steps leading to the watchtowers bear the date 2023 – the end time of renovation works – in stone. This date, along with the Latin inscription Renovatio 2023, was made of sandstone on the Western watchtower. The towers were reinforced with special piles, which will make their construction stable for years.

‘We arranged monk and nun tiles on the roof of the watchtowers. It was produced by a company preparing roof material for the castle in Gniew or Malbork. A traditional product according to old methods,’ tells Wojciech Kaim. ‘We have stylish gargoyles on watchtowers. They were produced by a Wroclaw-based company that became known for such items as a dragon egg – a famous prop for the huge HBO production The Game of Thrones. The watchtowers were provided with new windows, stylish doors, ceilings, terrazzo floor and lighting.

The historical parts of the bridge – stylish lamps and pinnacles – have been restored. Today the posts serve not only as a lighting, but also as an element for the maintenance of the overhead contact line. The posts were made of reinforced concrete and covered with sandstone elements referring to guardrails and gargoyles. Forty two tons of sandstone were used for that purpose.

Some guardrails are new, because they were replaced with concrete elements a few decades ago.

‘We decided to go back to historical solutions. Therefore, sandstone has different colours. Some of them are a witness to history, and you will notice bullet splinters here, some of them have been restored, some are new, but other elements have been cleaned. The Radków sandstone, of which 95 per cent of elements of this stone on the bridge are made, is a precious, but difficult-to-process material. Altogether, there were 230 tons of this stone,’ says Wojciech Kaim.

Stonemasons also worked on 68 gargoyles. There are four kinds of them. The sea creatures went through many things. Part of them lost their eyes, noses or face parts. They were fired upon from machine guns, because the bridge was a witness to warfare. The gargoyles are so ugly that they are beautiful. After many months of renovation, they are spectacularly illuminated and look at the Oder as at the beginning of the 20th century.

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