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Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony reopened the capital city’s landmark Chain Bridge undergoing reconstruction to buses, taxis, motorbikes and bicycles on Friday afternoon. “Let the Chain Bridge be a bridge between the present and the future, a bridge reconnecting the city’s Pest and Buda sides and reconnecting a divided, fragmented country,” Karácsony said at the event. The mayor thanked the designers, the construction company and the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) for their work carried out so far, as well as Budapest residents for their patience bearing with the inconvenience caused by the renovation. He also thanked the government for its work, saying that “the government ought to share such a joint success as the renovation of the Chain Bridge”. The bridge will reopen to pedestrians once the upgrade’s last phase is completed which is expected in the late summer of 2023, Karácsony said, adding that the city will also seek the opinion of Budapest’s residents in finalising the operation of transport services on the bridge.
László Sal, the chief executive of the construction company A-Híd, said 80% of the reconstruction work has been completed which involved reinforcing 20 tonnes of metal structure, installing 900 tonnes of steel grids, polishing stone surfaces and adding new anti-corrosion coating to the chains.
Katalin Walter, BKK’s CEO, said that the bridge reopened for temporary traffic as planned 548 days after its full closure in June last year.
The 26.75 billion forint (EUR 65m) renovation of the Chain Bridge and its immediate vicinity is expected to be completed by next autumn, in time for celebrations marking the anniversary of the formation of Budapest on November 17.