The repair of the outer sides of the Charles Bridge could begin in two years. Reconstruction, however, must be preceded by a detailed survey in which each stone is inspected. In some stones, there are up to twenty-inch holes.
The first construction of the bridge began on July 9, 1357 at the instigation of Charles IV and was depicted as “the rare and most beneficial jewel of Prague” in old chronicles. The bridge is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In spite of all reconstructions and preservation work so far, the bridge still largely looks like it did in the early 15th century when the construction of Charles Bridge was completed.
Today, the last section of the bridge, in Lesser Quarter is currently in the worst condition. Also in poor condition are the stands of two statues, and a damaged arch through Čertovka.
The gradual repair work could take around 10 years, but will not hinder tourist traffic as it will focus on the bottom of the bridge.
Approximately ten years ago, waterproofing was placed on the bridge, which changed the water movement across the bridge. In the past, the builders let it flow freely, but due to the chemicals in rainwater, salt and chlorine it was no longer possible because the bridge would be damaged.
“The water that flowed for decades and became a fungus from the bridge is gradually leaving. Through walls and arches it evaporates,” said Head of Bridges Administration & Technical Communications, Jan Zemánek.
The problem of Charles Bridge, but also of other Prague bridges, is warming and cooling. “In the summer they are warmed by the sun but cooled from the inside. In the winter they are cooled from the outside, heated from the inside, which is the source of the greatest tension in the vault,” explains Zemánek, the core of the bridge is not of sandstone, but of broken opaque, but the static state of the bridge is very good.