Repairs In Staré Brno Continue To Expand; Work On Mendlovo Nam. To Begin This Autumn
The construction work in the vicinity of Mendlovo náměstí has continued to expand, and should begin in the square itself in autumn. The repairs include significant reconstruction of the sewerage and water systems in the area, as well as modifications to the public transport infrastructure, and preparatory work for a future reconstruction of the whole square, chosen in an architectural competition that concluded in 2018. Photo Credit: Chybik + Kristof.
Brno, Jul 21 (BD) – Reconstruction work on Křížkovského has now expanded to the so-called Caracas Underpass by the Brno Exhibition Centre, and is scheduled to continue to the Exhibition Centre itself, and then Mendlovo náměstí in the autumn.
The ongoing repair works in the heavily congested area include work on the water and sewerage systems, hot water supply, and other networks, as well as surface treatment. New accessible stops will serve public transport passengers, and the trolleybus route will also be partially modified. The estimated cost to the city is around CZK 155 million, with the project due to be completed by the end of summer 2022. It is hoped that these upgrades will enable the further transformation of Mendlovo náměstí and surrounding areas in the future.
“The builders are mainly in the area of the so-called Caracas underpass at the moment,” said the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková. “This is a unique tram bridge near the main entrance to the Brno Exhibition Grounds, which represents an imaginary entrance gate to Mendlovo náměstí. It is exceptional not only for its curvature but also for its pitch angle and uneven beam thickness. It is called Caracas because it is similar to another bridge in that metropolis of Venezuela. The utility networks must be moved under the bridge so that the road can be lowered. This increases the ground clearance – the space between the road and the bridge – and is necessary for trolleybuses to pass through here, which they will be doing from this autumn.”
Teplárny Brno began work in the area in November 2020, replacing steam pipelines on Křížkovského and in the surrounding area. Now their activities have moved to the Caracas bridge and the area in front of the Brno Trade Fairs. Reconstruction of the water supply and sewerage system is also being carried out, requiring the closure of Křížkovského in the Poříčí–Hlinka section from July 14th, as well as smaller adjacent sections of Výstavní, Veletržní, Zedníkova, and Poříčí. These closures are scheduled to end in mid-October, when the previous level of restrictions, familiar to drivers since spring 2021, will return.
The dates of further work in the area will be confirmed only after the completion of this stage of the project, but it is assumed that work will begin in Mendlovo náměstí in the second half of October, to reconstruct the sewerage, water supply and gas pipelines. The hot water pipes should be completed by then. It is still being determined what traffic restrictions may be necessary during this phase, especially at the intersection with Křížová, where a construction pit will be established and a shaft constructed for the repairs. There will be no interruption to public transport lines, though they may be slightly reduced. Completion of the works is planned by the end of summer 2022.
“In the summer months of next year, we are planning celebrations of the anniversary of Mendel’s birth,” explained Deputy Mayor Petr Hladík. “There is currently a competition underway to design a statue of GJ Mendel. The square has been awaiting necessary reconstruction work for a long time. Its modernization will be a great impetus for this part of the city, with a full-fledged public space with trees and accessible stops. New trees and green spaces will also be planted in the tram turntable area, dividing the impersonal space into smaller parts and providing a more welcoming atmosphere. Some traction masts will disappear, while more comfortable furniture and energy-saving LED lighting will be added.”
In the work on the square, the Brno Waterworks and Sewerage company will replace almost 200 metres of sewers dating from 1914, and almost 125 metres of water pipelines dating from 1899. Several other old sections of the sewerage and water systems will be restored or reinforced. Teplarny Brno continues its city-wide project of converting steam pipelines to hot water pipelines, with the reconstruction of over 350 metres of piping in this area. Surface treatment will also be carried out in the areas affected by the works.
The work will also entail a reorganization of public transport from the square, including upgrades to the tram stops on line 1, and minor adjustments to the routes of some trolleybuses. Reconstruction of the tram stops on lines 5 and 6 coming from Pekařská are planned in future projects, but preparations for this work will be included in the current phase of work. All public transport stops on Mendlovo náměstí will have disabled access after the work is completed. Changes to individual lines will be introduced gradually between this autumn and summer next year. After 2022, only the tram loop and the tram stops for lines 5 and 6 will remain to be completed.
“It is currently very difficult to quantify costs accurately,” said David Grund, Council member for Investment. “We are currently estimating a total cost of CZK 155 million. Both the progress of the project and the current development of prices on the market will determine the final amount.” Grund added that the council is currently working on the permit procedures and implementation documentation, which will determine the unit prices, and therefore the total costs. However, steep rises in prices on the construction market are causing uncertainty in this respect.
The current work precedes the implementation of the winning design from the competition for a new urban-architectural design for Mendlovo náměstí, chosen in 2018. After the conclusion of that competition, the Brno City Architect’s office proposed modifications to the square to be carried out before the complete reconstruction. Architects from the Chybik + Kristof studio are now collaborating with the studio of Michal Palaščák, the author of the winning design. These modifications will correspond to the renewed focus on the square connected with the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder of genetics, Gregor Johann Mendel, as well as laying the groundwork for the more extensive future transformation of the square.
Visualizations of the architectural transformation of Mendlovo náměstí, by the Chybik + Kristof studio are available to download here.