One year of designing the route to Mistrzejowice. Here’s the summary!

The cooperation of private and public partners under the KST IV project will last 24 years. What was the first year like? Here’s the summary!

The contract for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of the tramway route to Mistrzejowice was signed at the end of December 2020. It created quite a buzz, because the project is the third PPP investment in the history of the Polish market in terms of capital expenditure and, at the same time, the largest in the transport sector. It assumes a partnership cooperation and split of risks between the Kraków Municipality and a consortium of PPP Solutions Polska and Gülermak. The selected private partner is supposed not only to finance and build the new infrastructure, but also to maintain it for 20 years. . The public entity will therefore become financially involved only when the tram starts transporting passengers. The entity responsible for the project on behalf of the city is Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).

The tramway to Mistrzejowice: design works

Early in 2021 the designer for the project was selected – the consortium of Arcadis and Prota Polska – as well as the Contract Engineer: INKO Consulting. Works on the design could go full steam ahead. However, before it was finalized, ZDMK requested an analysis of possibly extending the underground section of the route so that the grade-separated solution would be applied under both the Polsadu roundabout and the Młyńskie roundabout. This was related to the plans for building a premetro that would be partially overlapping with the tram route to Mistrzejowice. Design works, cost calculations and extensive arrangements for the new scope were still ongoing when the design concept received a positive opinion from the contract engineer (June). All the works were continued at the stage of developing the architectural and building design.

During the summer holidays, noise level measurements were made to design acoustic protection and geological surveys were launched to establish soil and water conditions where the tunnel would be built. At the same time, arrangements were made with many participants in the investment process, including the owners of underground networks, Wody Polskie (National Water Management Authority), the City of Kraków’s Municipal Traffic Engineer. Their outcome will be decisive for the date of filing the request for a road construction consent decision (ZRID). In 2021, a positive opinion was obtained from of the Municipal Team for Vulnerable Road Users.

In the recent months the solutions for Młyńskie roundabout were approved that can be implemented after the resolution by the City Council where additional funds have been secured for this purpose in the Multiannual Financial Forecast.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice: in touch with the locals

Since early spring, Gülermak – in cooperation with ZDMK – has been launching channels for communicating with local residents: the FB profile, the website, the project hotline, e-mails. Nearly 70 individuals and organizations have directly asked questions about the project using these channels. Then there are dozens of questions in the comments to our Facebook posts which were also answered.

A period of several weeks turned out to be important from the perspective of relations with residents: the second stage of public consultation held at the turn of August and September. The most important matters for the local community were revealed in the survey, during online and stationary meetings with experts as well as in telephone conversations. We were also able to reach out to the local residents in the Mobile Information Outlet in November on the Młyńskie roundabout.

“Little Masters – to Mistrzejowice by tram” was a project for the youngest residents from the kindergartens in Prądnik Czerwony and Mistrzejowice districts. In 2021 over 650 kids took part in the initiative.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice: What will the coming months bring?

A team of designers, industry professionals, planners, experts in investment financing and control are working hard to kick off the works next year. The first weeks of 2022 will witness finalizing the arrangements and completing documents necessary to file for the RCC decision. It may take up to several months before it is reviewed. Talks with banks will also be finalized to sign a direct agreement that will launch the project implementation.

According to the updated schedule, construction will start in Q2 2022 and will last until the end of 2024.

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Tramway tunnel extended. Trams will cross the Młyńskie Roundabout in a grade-separated way

It is now certain that the underground part of the tram route to Mistrzejowice will be over 1.2 km – trams will cross the Młyńskie roundabout in a grade-separated way. With additional funds for the investment approved by the Kraków City Council, the PPP contract was amended.

Changes in the design, approved at the end of December, enable a grade-separated tram route on level -1 not only under Polsadu roundabout, but also under Młyńskie roundabout. The tram will start descending to a half-open, secured excavation already around Pszona Street in order to pass under the Młyńskie roundabout without affecting the traffic on the surface. “The underground option will not only shorten the tram journey time, but also improve traffic organization in the area of the intersection” – says Paweł Motyka, Deputy Project Manager at Gülermak. Passengers will get on the tram in this area already on level -1 reaching the stop using traditional stairs, escalators or spacious lifts.

In the area of Polsadu roundabout, trams will continue in a tunnel similar to the one under the Main Railway Station and will resurface before Barei roundabout. This way it will run smoother and safer through the over 1.2-kilometer part of the planned route.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice to go underground

As a reminder: initially, the tram route to Mistrzejowice would cross the Młyńskie roundabout on the surface. Analyzes were launched in spring into placing the tracks at level -1. The design was ready in October. In December, Kraków City Council allocated additional funds in the Multiannual Financial Forecast which gave the green light to changes in the PPP contract. Last works are now in progress on finalizing the road network along the entire investment.

A route offering a perspective for premetro

An extended underground part of the route will be an advantage only for the tram passengers, but also for future users of the premetro. The city authorities have recently approved the study of its first line (from Nowa Huta to Bronowice) where both routes will be aligned at a distance of approx. 700 meters. “We make every effort to ensure that our investment fits in with other planned municipal projects. The new tram route will be coordinated with that of the premetro” – said Marcin Hanczakowski, director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK) in an interview for the website. The change involves the construction of a turnout chamber to direct the metro cars towards Pilotów street without direct interference with the new infrastructure.

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Traditional walls of Kraków have inspired the design of underground stop at Polsadu roundabout

We already know what the stop in the tunnel of the Krakow Fast Tram to Mistrzejowice will look like. The main theme of the selected design are the materials characteristic of Krakow’s walls – stone and brick. A large skylight will provide adequate lighting of the interior of the underground station at Polsadu roundabout.

Architectural design of the Polsadu roundabout stop prepared by the Prota Polska Sp. z o.o. company on behalf of Gülermak has been positively received by the Chief Architect of the City of Kraków.   It features two underground floors: level -2 with tram platforms and level -1 with circulation paths for pedestrians leading to the ground level through four staircases. Each exit pavilion will be roofed and have traditional stairs, escalators and elevators to serve bicycles or prams. The stop is fully accessible to persons with reduced mobility. Underground – on top of areas for passengers – there will be premises for staff of the tram stop and tunnel services as well as technical rooms for safe and proper operations of the facility.

No more boring pedestrian tunnels

The designers knew the drawback of tunnels and other linear structures: the monotony of long corridors. To prevent it, a cladding system was designed on the walls underground. The pattern is repeatable yet the effect is different depending on the viewing angle. Even though made of modern materials, the cladding will refer to the raw materials so common across Kraków’s historic streets.

“The starting point for us when designing the stop at Polsadu roundabout were the materials that dominate the architecture of Kraków: stone and brick” – says Małgorzata Marcinkowska, an architect with Prota Polska Sp. z o.o. “Walls made of these materials are arranged in a specific way and display certain rhythm, especially the details of the brick threads. Our idea was to translate this pattern into large-format geometric forms of interior cladding and to apply an analogous color scheme” – explains the designer.

Exit pavilions featuring contrasting items

Brick walls, overgrown with vines, are also typical landscape in Prądnik Czerwony – a district in Kraków rich in monastery buildings. This is the association visible in exit pavilions which were designed in a contrastive manner. “One of the walls is a reference to a massive wall covered with vegetation, the rest of the pavilion is a light, glazed steel structure” – says Małgorzata Marcinkowska. The species of plants that make up the ‘green wall’ will be carefully selected so that they are easy to maintain and aesthetic throughout the year.

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Over a cup of tea about the Tramway. Mobile Information Outlet at the Młyńskie roundabout

Once the tram line to Mistrzejowice is in place, the Młyńskie roundabout will become a major transfer hub. We are spreading the news about our investment plans. This time we reached local residents in ZDMK’s Mobile Information Outlet. As the Turkish custom has it, talks were held over a cup of tea served by the private partner – Gülermak.

As part of the KST IV tramway route project, the Młyńskie roundabout will become a two-level transfer hub. Initial concept for the tram route involved an above-ground track in this area. However, at the request of the public partner, an alternative solution was designed and ultimately trams will cross the roundabout in a grade-separated way: at level -1.

How will the immediate vicinity change? When will construction works start and how long will they last? These are just some of the questions asked by the local residents who decided to chat with us in the Mobile Information Outlet. On top of verbal information, we have also been distributing brochures describing the project and informing local residents where and how they can report comments and ask more questions. The event was organized by the private partner of the project – Gülermak company – which in line with the Turkish custom hosted the guests with a cup of tea.

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