The renovated Chain Bridge, the oldest bridge on the River Danube in the Hungarian capital was opened to temporary traffic this Friday.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony said at the event that the Chain Bridge should be a bridge between the present and the future, connecting not only Buda and Pest, but also the divided and fragmented country.
For the time being, only vehicles of the Budapest Transport Center (BKK) as well as taxis, motorcyclists, cyclists and users of micro-transport can cross the bridge, while pedestrians are expected to be able to use the crossing from the end of next summer.
Gergely Karácsony announced that the final traffic regime of the bridge will be decided together with the citizens of Budapest, after a real public debate.
The Mayor recalled that the bridge was born in an era when Hungary represented both the homeland and progress, and when there was no question of "Hungary or Europe, because it was clear that Hungary and Europe".
With the renovation of the bridge, he hopes that Hungary can be such a place again, he added, thanking the builders, the designers, BKK for their work and the people of Budapest for their patience over the past 18 months and the 20 years of anticipation that preceded it.
At the same time, the reconstruction work on the pavements, which is 80% complete, is continuing and pedestrians will not be able to use the bridge until the end of next summer. He said that the prestige of the project had been felt throughout and the work had been carried out accordingly.
The biggest challenge, he continued, was replacing the ageing reinforced concrete deck. After demolition of the structure, some 900 tons of steel track was installed, 20 tons of steel reinforcement was added, the stone surfaces were restored and the chain was given a new anti-corrosion coating.
BKK CEO Katalin Walter said that exactly 548 days after the complete closure in June last year, the road could be opened to temporary traffic on time and within the budget.
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