Much of the Czech Republic has been hit by snow, with road transport impacted in many parts of the country. Approximately 120 gritting trucks were out in force on Monday in the Central Bohemia region alone, while the police attributed 40 traffic accidents in Prague to the difficult conditions. Nevertheless, major roads around the Czech Republic were passable on Monday afternoon.
A court of arbitration has ordered the construction firm Metrostav to resume work on the controversial Blanka tunnel complex in Prague. In a preliminary ruling, the court dismissed claims raised by Prague City Hall that its contracts with Metrostav on the Blanka construction were invalid. The dispute between Prague and building firm ended at a court of arbitration after Metrostav halted work on the tunnel in December, a move provoked by the City Hall’s decision not to pay some 2.1 billion crowns it owed the company.
Plans to make Prague’s Smetanovo nábřeží embankment and Malá Strana car-free once the tunnel Blanka goes into operation may not now go ahead, iDnes.cz reported. Turning the embankment and Malá Strana into pedestrian-only zones would cause transport problems elsewhere in the centre of the city, according to a report commissioned by City Hall and quoted by the news site. An experiment in which Smetanovo nábřeží, running from Charles Bridge to the National Theatre, was closed to cars for several Saturdays last autumn led to traffic jams in other places, while tram services had to be rerouted.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has issued a black ice alert for the entire Czech Republic until Wednesday morning at the soonest. The majority of regions were reporting icy roads by Tuesday lunchtime. Snow has been falling around the country and blankets of snow of between 1 and 5 centimetres are predicted by Wednesday morning. Motorists and pedestrians have been told to expect further black ice in the coming days.
Two people were killed on the Czech Republic’s rail network on Saturday. A spokesperson for the railways inspection authority said the deaths had occurred at Bohumín in the east of the country and near Poděbrady in Central Bohemia. Another man was seriously injured when he was struck by a train travelling between Kolín and Nymburk, also in Central Bohemia. All three accidents occurred at spots where walkers are banned. In the first 18 days of 2014, 12 people died on the country’s railways, while six were injured, TV Nova reported.
The Czech passenger rail market is one that appears on the verge of great upheaval even though competition is still very much the exception rather than the rule. Better known as a coach company on its home market in Britain, National Express, has just set up a Czech subsidiary and sees itself as one of several rail operators that could eventually be competing for big city and small town passenger services.
Officers arrested a man who hit a pedestrian and two cars while attempting to evade a police check in Prague on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who is believed to have been under the influence of drugs, has previously been banned from driving three times. After first escaping from the police he was detained later in the day on the capital’s Sokolovská St. His car had a handwritten number plate in the front.
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