METROPROJEKT Praha, a. s., has more than fifty years of history and is behind many important road structures, not only in our capital.
The new general manager, Ing. Vladimír Seidl, told us about the nearest goals awaiting Metroprojekt – and it is not just the D underground route in Prague.
At the beginning of the year, you replaced Ing. Krása in his post. What tasks or challenges are ahead of you?
My goal is for METROPROJEKT to continue to be a top project company, especially in the field of road structures. As for the closest goals, it is certainly the successful completion of the preparation of the group of buildings for the railway connection between Prague and Kladno and Václav Havel Airport. Obtaining zoning decisions and building permits in the inner city of the capital is a very demanding issue and a long process. We fight construction opponents, where they all support a modern rail link between the city centre and the airport, but only if the track does not run past their house or garden. Even excessive caution and sometimes not obeying by administrative deadlines on the part of the concerned organizations and municipal authorities do not accelerate the process. Despite the above-mentioned problems, we have lately managed, in co-operation with the Railway Administration, to start the implementation of our projects in the sections of Kladno – Kladno Ostrovec and Praha Bubny – Praha Výstaviště. As for the others, the Prague Ruzyně – Kladno section is closest to construction. Regarding METROPROJEKT’s internal processes, I would like to complete a comprehensive digitization of document circulation and the introduction of software for managing files, users and processes. My priorities also include further development of 3D design using the BIM method.
One of the main projects in Prague is the construction of the D underground route. Is it going according to plan, or have there been any guiles?
The schedule for the preparation and implementation of the I.D underground route set by the Prague Public Transport Co, Inc., is still being fulfilled. According to them, the Pankrác – Nové Dvory section should be completed and put into operation by 2029. Construction of the initiation section Pankrác – Olbrachtova has been in full swing since last April. A problem may arise if one of the participants appeals to the ÚOHS after the evaluation of offers for the implementation of the second section of Olbrachtova – Nové Dvory, as was the case in the first section. This might delay the opening of the first section significantly. As for the continuation of the project preparation, what I consider the right decision is for the DPP to focus on the continuation of the project preparation from Pankrác to the north towards Míru Square, because the C route will not be relieved until the D and A routes are connected.
How is the modernization of the existing underground stations progressing?
The rate of reconstruction of underground stations has increased in recent years, which pleases me not only as the director of a project company which considers this type of contract as one of the main lines of business, but also as a resident of Prague who regularly uses public transport services in the metropolis. Reconstructions that are currently being renovated include the Jiřího z Poděbrad and the C Florenc stations. This year, we want to complete the tender documentation for the selection of a contractor for the reconstruction of Českomoravská and Flora stations. At the beginning of the year, we also started work on the documentation for the building permit for the reconstruction of the Hradčanská station.
The development of tram lines is a relatively big topic in Prague. What is the topic of discussion is also the return of the tracks to Wenceslas Square, as well as new lines that are to improve transport services in the peripheral parts of Prague… What is the situation like?
The development of tram lines in Prague is experiencing a boom that I do not remember in my almost thirty-year professional career. The outgoing leadership of the capital has set this as one of their priorities, and I believe that the new one will continue the established trend. The implementation of the Holyně – Slivenec construction will begin, alongside the ongoing Modřany – Libuš and Divoká Šárka – Dědinská constructions, in February. Our company is now working on the projects of Libuš – Nové Dvory, Kobylisy – Bohnice tram lines and the new line in Počernická Street. The return of trams to Wenceslas Square is one step closer. It is perhaps the most visible of all our aforementioned projects. But it also of a great operational significance, as it is to create a parallel route to the busiest I.P. Pavlova – Ječná – Karlovo náměstí line. Even a banal collision in this section can nowadays complicate tram traffic in a large part of the city. At the turn of the year, the building permit for the track on Wenceslas Square took effect, and a competition for the selection of a construction contractor is currently underway. There I must point out that we were able to obtain a building permit in record time, also thanks to the generous support of the city management, and I would like to thank all my colleagues who were responsible for this.
So far, we have only focused on Prague. Which of your projects are implemented outside the capital?
The tram line from Osová to the Masaryk University Campus in Brno was put into trial operation last December. It is our largest completed urban transport system project in recent years. The track runs for the most part in a tunnel, and the Zelená brána underground station is part of it. Reconstruction of a historic station building in České Budějovice is underway. METROPROJEKT’s largest ever foreign contract – the third underground route – is being implemented in Sofia. There I can only envy my Bulgarian colleagues the speed of the permitting processes. In 2010, we commenced project work on two new underground routes, the D route in Prague and the third underground route in Sofia. In Sofia, there are already 12 stations out of a total of 18 in operation. The D route in Prague, on the other hand, was only commenced last year.
Your answers show that METROPROJEKT focuses mainly on rail structures. Are you going to focus on other transport construction systems, or possibly other construction industry?
I was already involved in the expansion of METROPROJEKT’s portfolio in my previous position of a sales director. Every company is able to resist crises better if it has so-called more open scissors and if it is able to assert itself in other areas outside of its core business. One thing is to get a contract in a field that is not traditional for you, and another thing is to handle it successfully with one’s own capacities or with the help of subcontractors. No one wants to associate with you much when trying to break into a new market, because you increase their competition and take away work as a result. The only option is to get recognized experts in the new field. Attracting them to employment is conflicting and almost impossible today, so we took the route of acquiring smaller established companies with which we worked on joint projects in the past. Over the past three years, we have managed to acquire majority shares in PK Ossendorf and AGA – Airport, thus entering the market for designing road, motorway and airport constructions. As for the future, I do not rule out that we will also continue in this way in the segment of designing building constructions.