Illustrative photo – The new road bridge over the Elbe, the profile of which enables future shipping to Pardubice, began serving traffic on May 26, 2020, between Mělice and Valy u Přelouč.
Přelouč (Pardubice) – The Directorate of Waterways (ŘVC) plans to obtain an environmental impact assessment (SEA) opinion for the plan to navigate the Elbe between Přelouč and Pardubice in the first half of next year. Environmentalists opposed the original route of the navigation channel through the naturally valuable Slavíkovy ostrovy for a long time and successfully blocked the construction. The new route of the waterway should avoid the entire European-important location of Louka u Přelouče as much as possible. The new route that will be selected will have to be included in the regional spatial planning documentation, said Jan Bukovský, spokesman for the ŘVC, when asked by ČTK.
“We will try to submit the SEA documentation to the regional office for publication and carry out our own SEA process by December 2023, and the resulting SEA opinion can then be issued at the turn of the first and second quarters of 2024. This will create the prerequisites for us to subsequently apply for inclusion in the principles of territorial development of Pardubický region,” said Bukovsky. Both the Governorship and Pardubice support the Elbe navigation.
The ŘVC wanted to have the SEA documentation ready last year, but no one entered the competition for its preparation and it had to be cancelled. There are now two participants in the repeated tender, their evaluation is being completed and a contract with the winner could be concluded in March. The SEA concept for discussion with the concerned authorities should be ready during this autumn.
The ŘVC chose from 16 options for navigating the Elbe, of which three were evaluated in terms of environmental effects as options without a significant negative impact on Louky u Přelouč. One, for example, shows the total territorial coverage of protected blue heron sites below one percent. The resulting solution will result from the SEA assessment.
Due to shipping from the current terminal port in Chvaletice to the newly proposed terminal port in Pardubice, it would be necessary to build a navigation channel that bypasses the weir in Přelouč. So far, the protection of the so-called Elbe humps, which is a section of the river in the middle course below the weir with rapid flow, has also been considered. Currently, according to Bukovský, there is already an opinion that the lumps are not that valuable and it would be possible to dispose of them.
In the past, the proposed solution counted on a channel with a length of almost 3.2 kilometers and costs of more than three billion crowns. The project will also include the modernization of the Srnojedy lock and the construction of a public port in Pardubice. In 2009, the Supreme Audit Office questioned the meaningfulness and economy of the navigation channel. According to previously published information, loose construction materials, road salt or excessive loads could be transported on the water from Pardubice and in the opposite direction, and the launch would also enable the development of recreational boating.