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State Secretary Asks Budapest Mayor’s Position about Chain Bridge Renovation

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.05.22.

The state secretary for the development of Budapest and the metropolitan area has asked the city’s mayor to clarify his position regarding the renovation of Chain Bridge.

In a letter to Gergely Karácsony, Balázs Fürjes expressed his surprise over the mayor’s announcement on Facebook on Thursday of the city’s decision to postpone the renovation project indefinitely.

In the letter, a copy of which Fürjes sent to Hungarian News Agency MTI on Friday, the state secretary quoted Karácsony as saying publicly last December that “the renovation cannot be postponed any longer” and in January this year that it “cannot be delayed for too long”. Fürjes also referred to Karácsony banning heavy vehicles from using the bridge “in order to prevent the further deterioration of its condition”.

Fürjes said Karácsony’s recent announcement was “in sharp contrast” to his earlier statements and to the recommendations of an emergency status report prepared by engineers at the mayor’s request last December.

He said Karácsony gave the government a copy of the report indicating its conclusion that the renovation could not be postponed any longer, given that the bridge “is in very poor condition”. Highlighting the severe corrosion of the iron structure, the report said that any delay would drastically increase costs and could ultimately eliminate the option of renovation.

Chain Bridge Refurbishment Still Doubtful

Fürjes asked Karácsony to confirm the information regarding the bridge’s current condition and inform his office whether the report is still valid or if a new report has been drawn up.

He said it was important for the government to know since it has already earmarked 6 billion forints (EUR 17.2m) to support the renovation.

Budapest: renovation still priority

The Budapest Municipality said in response that the renovation is still a priority, but unplanned spending on coronavirus protection, cuts in central allocations and losses in revenues have created a new situation requiring a review of several projects.

“The renovation of Chain Bridge is such a project which, despite remaining a priority, needs to be reviewed in terms of its costs and technical content, as well as regarding the bridge’s future function,” Deputy Mayor Dávid Dorosz said.

featured photo: Balázs Mohai/MTI