The first premetro section to be made together with the tram route to Mistrzejowice

Over 1.5 km of the new tram route to Mistrzejowice will be shared with premetro. The works performed during the construction of the trackbed will be part of the new solution expected by the residents of Kraków.

In the middle of last year, the city officially announced what had already been hinted at by experts and city officials: a traditional metro, built entirely underground, in the case of Kraków is substantively and economically unjustified. The so-called premetro is the alternative. The difference is not about some sections running above the ground (because such solutions are applied for regular subways). It is basically a lighter system that is compatible with the tram infrastructure. Plus, its construction is almost half cheaper than traditional metro. Also, the estimated maintenance costs are over 2.5 times lower – a major advantage from the point of view of the city’s budget.

The route: Wzgórza Krzesławickie – Jasnogórska

The route is planned from Wzgórza Krzesławickie to Bronowice and it will connect other districts on the northern side of Vistula river: Nowa Huta, Bieńczyce, Mistrzejowice, Prądnik Czerwony, Grzegórzki, Stare Miasto and Krowodrza.

The important part is that the route is to be built in stages. It was one of key arguments in favor of choosing this model. Already with the first stage launched, premetro offers a chance for a significant improvement in the efficiency of public transport in the city. The route designers also sought full integration of the recommended variant with other investments. The aim was to support effective use of the tramway network, facilitate transfers and come up with an attractive alternative to traveling by car.

The first step is now

Even before any works start at the Kraków pre-metro project, its first parts will be ready. The new tram route to Mistrzejowice – to be ready in 2025 – will share four stops with the planned premetro line: Dobrego Pasterza, Barei Roundabout, Polsadu Roundabout and Młyńskie Roundabout. Stops at Polsadu and Młyńskie Roundabouts will be underground. The joint section is 1,625 meters in total and it will partly run in a tunnel.

Many ongoing changes

Interestingly, the shared infrastructure was not the initial plan. Paweł Motyka, Deputy Project Manager at Gülermak, says the concept of building the premetro was unveiled when the KST IV tram route construction project was already at an advanced stage and had received the first arrangements. – We had to re-analyze the section shared by both lines, redesign it to handle premetro cars. Shared stations have been redesigned using our proprietary concept to ensure a collision-free traffic service or to enable subsequent expansion. The platforms located on level -1 have been extended to 65 meters – he explains.

That was just the starting point for changes. It was also necessary to analyze and adjust exit widths at underground stops to handle increased passenger flows. Two turnout chambers were designed on the north and south sides of the shared section. The southern side turnouts support extension of the premetro route towards the center, while the northern side ones – the exit of the future tram route to Strzelców Street. The tunnel features a line block system to enable up to 40 trams per hour in each direction. This way the so-called concealed works will be reduced during the construction of the premetro.  It will save money and reduce difficulties during project.

– The new tram route will be coordinated with the premetro. Also, they will share the route between Barei Roundabout and the Młyńskie Roundabout.  Estimates indicate that the city will save money on this project – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).


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We distributed 15 thousand news-sheets

What will underground stops look like? When are works planned to be started? How to contact us? We wanted to reach people living and working near the planned KST IV tram route with such information by releasing the first issue of the “Informator” news-sheet.

15 thousand copies of the first issue of the “Informator” were distributed to mailboxes of the neighbors of the future project, directly to passers-by, drivers and to public institutions. The aim of this action was to provide information about the planned construction to those who did not know about it or who knew very little. Although most of the residents search for such information in the Internet, not everyone has access to online information.

Eco-friendly distribution

The “Informator” contains, among others, basic data on the project, a map of the planned route, a letter from the Mayor of Kraków to the residents, an interview with project partners and contact details for stakeholders. Out of concern for our planet, the news-sheet was distributed with the use of an eco-friendly means of transport – a cargo bike. Also an electronic version can be downloaded by clicking on the button below the article.

The second issue of the “Informator” is planned to be released before the commencement of the construction works. It will contain materials about the planned temporary and permanent traffic arrangement designed due to the construction.

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Arrangements regarding the change to the cross-section of Meissnera St.

The process of re-arrangements regarding limited traffic in Meissnera Street has started. As a result, the number of noise walls along the project will be lower and the space created can be designated for greenery.

– The current street will be narrowed. Thanks to it, there will be less asphalt, more greenery and fewer noise walls – explains the designer, Krzysztof Markowicz from Arcadis, the company responsible for the design of the tram route to Mistrzejowice. More information about the changes to the immediate vicinity of the tram route to Mistrzejowice can be read here.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice meets the expectations of the residents

Implementation of the initiated changes requires not only additional design works but also arrangements with a number of institutions, among others owners of buried services (e.g. water lines, fiber-optical cables) or the City of Kraków’s Municipal Traffic Engineer. The process of arrangements is already underway. Soon, we will know how they will affect the project schedule.

– The designing stage will last a little bit longer but thanks to it, the new tram route will even better meet the expectations of the residents – says Michał Pyclik, spokesman for the Kraków Municipal Road Authority.

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Noise-reducing methods along the investment revealed!

Fewer trucks, a quiet bus fleet, narrow roadways – these are some of the assumptions to reduce road noise along the new tram route to Mistrzejowice.

We have recently announced that adjustments to reduce the acoustic nuisance associated with car traffic will be requested at the final stage of design works. Their aim is to reduce the number of noise barriers and trees to be removed as requested by the residents.

The design of Tramway route to Mistrzejowice – the last adjustments 

The Private Partner has already been asked to introduce changes and the chief designer has been requested to make the necessary adjustments. These are:

  • adopting the cross-section of the street in accordance with the current permanent traffic organization: 2×1 plus parking lanes, road width of 6.5 m in total on straight sections and the implementation of a band with a usable width of 0.75 m behind the road, along parking spaces;
  • the currently designed sidewalk (that was to serve parking spaces as well) to be converted to green area;
  • taking into account the use of a modern, silent tram rolling stock by the carrier;
  • limiting the traffic of heavy vehicles and introducing an electric bus fleet;
  • applying surfaces with improved noise-reduction parameters for locations particularly exposed to its increased level.

How will the changes affect the schedule?

Within the coming month, the Private Partner will analyze the impact of the changes requested on the costs and duration of the investment. Since their scope does not affect the investment area, the application for ZRID (road construction consent) is not necessary again. The amendment will be made only by means of supplementing the documentation.

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Number of noise barriers reduced along the project!

Fewer noise barriers, more greenery – these design changes respond to the needs voiced by Kraków’s residents. The ideas include limited traffic on Meissnera Street, electrified bus fleet or the use of a noise-reducing surface.

The tram route to Mistrzejowice is built to facilitate commuting for the residents and to align the space along it to the needs of the local community. This is a major challenge for designers who seek trade-offs to satisfy all users of the new infrastructure.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice – the residents’ voices are heard

Protection against noise is a key aspect of any transport investment yet the construction of noise barriers triggers heated discussions. Having listened to the neighbors of the planned tram route to Mistrzejowice, the investment partners decided to analyze possible changes to the design meant to reduce the noise along Meissnera and Młyńska Streets. A preliminary analysis revealed that the number of noise barriers can be reduced along the investment provided the traffic is limited to a single lane in each direction, the bus fleet is electrified and noise-reducing surface is applied – says Paweł Motyka, Deputy Project Manager at Gülermak. With these changes in place, several dozen trees will be saved that had been originally intended for logging due to a collision with the planned infrastructure. – From day one, we kept repeating the investment would be as friendly to the residents as possible and would not excessively interfere in the public space – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).

An analysis is currently underway of how the initiated design changes will affect the costs and schedule of the investment which was planned for completion at the end of 2024.

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How will cyclists benefit from the construction of KST IV?

Over 18 thousand m2 of bike paths will be constructed as part of the construction of the Kraków Fast Tram route (KST), stage 4.  Cyclists will safely and comfortably cover the entire route between the intersection of Meissnera/Mogilska Streets and Mistrzejowice.

Two-way cycle tracks are being designed along Meissnera, Młyńska, Lublańska and Dobrego Pasterza Streets on both sides of the route to the level of Krzesławicka Street. Cycling continuity between Dobrego Pasterza and Bohomolca Streets will be provided along Krzesławicka Street where cyclists will participate in general traffic. Along Bohomolca and Jancarza Streets, a cycle track has been designed on one side of the road to the Mistrzejowice terminus. They will be integrated with the existing network of cycle routes.

Safety and comfort on the cycle track

According to the design, car traffic, cyclists and foot traffic will be separated.  – Sidewalks and cycle track will be separated from each other by means of different pavement texture – says Magdalena Cyran, road design coordinator in Gülermak, the company implementing the KST IV project.

The cycle track pavement will be made of asphalt concrete in order to ensure comfort and safety for cyclists. The applied solutions will guarantee good adhesion on curves and during wet braking. They will minimize the risk of cracks, chips and deflections caused by various factors, e.g. impact of vegetation or low temperatures. Thanks to the red color of the wearing course on cycle crossings, the zone for cyclists will be visible and aesthetic.

The required visibility has been verified and ensured at all spots where the cycle route crosses other travelways. The designer has verified visibility splays and obstacle-free-zones have been introduced where necessary. They will ensure greater visibility both for the vulnerable road users and drivers thanks to which quick reaction will be possible.

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Near Barei roundabout a rain garden will be created

It soaks up rainwater like a sponge, thanks to which it helps prevent creation of the so-called urban heat islands. Such a rain garden will be created near Barei roundabout as part of Tramway to Mistrzejowice (KST IV) the construction project.

The secret of a rain garden lies in the ground of larger permeability and in appropriate vegetation. This combination allows cleaning and collecting runoff water from surface areas much larger than the garden itself. Thanks to the above, smaller amounts of water from sidewalks, streets or bike paths go directly to the sewer system, which prevents the groundwater lowering and local flooding due to heavy rainfalls. These will be the advantages of the garden designed in the area of Barei roundabout, on the southern side of Strzelców street.

Rain garden: what plants are planted there?

What plants are selected for such a garden? The so-called wetland edge vegetation whose roots help eliminate the contaminants run off from streets and sidewalks. Near Barei roundabout, the following plants will be applied: Lythrum salicaria, Eupatorium cannabinum, Hemerocallis x hybrida and Geranium phaeum.

They are planted in specific soils, where a bacterial membrane can be created which additionally reduces the contamination. It is like a small local biological treatment plant! In the subsoil, sands, limestone and volcanic rocks are used whose permeability and porosity are significant thanks to which runoff can be intercepted.

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According to the schedule or how a project clock ticks

What are the three basic goals of any construction project? Complete the investment, stay within the budget and meet the deadlines. A project implementation schedule helps in achieving the third one. It is prepared long before the day one at the construction site.

Most of the construction projects would have remained just plans without a well-conceived schedule – a one just like that was prepared by the Private Partner as part of the construction of the tramway route to Mistrzejowice. Let’s take a closer look at the KST IV project which involves much more than just the construction of tramway tracks and overhead power supply. It includes the alteration of a number of underground systems (even a river channel), road, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, vegetation, managing the construction site environment, information campaigns and effective financing of works. Coordinating it requires a good plan. That’s not all: the entire project is planned for almost a quarter of a century, because it is implemented in the public-private partnership formula (PPP).

Schedule to support project implementation

Naturally, this does not mean the construction will take that long. The PPP contract covers not only the implementation of the project, but also the maintenance of the ready infrastructure for a period of 20 years. Potential private partners were aware of it upon filing bids in the PPP procedure. The design and construction period was scheduled for 40 months with the countdown off in December 2020 when the contract was signed.

According to its provisions, the project implementation schedule was to be presented to the public entity within the first month of cooperation. “However, I would not reduce this document only to a mere contractual requirement. It is primarily a practical support for the team preparing and implementing the project. It supports adding the right items to this complicated puzzle at the right time” – says Wiktor Walicki, Planning Engineer with Gülermak.

Can the schedule be changed?

The most important elements of the KST IV implementation schedule are: developing a design concept, completing the design stage, filing a request for ZRID (road construction consent), starting construction, starting technical acceptances, launching tram connection and further – its operation period. Their timing became binding after the public entity has approved the schedule. What about changes? They are allowed, but their source must be a significant and unexpected circumstance.

That was the case with the study of the construction of the first line of the Kraków pre-metro. It revealed that on the section between the Park Wodny and the Młyńskie roundabout, the route of the new means of transport will be identical as the tram route to Mistrzejowice. “In order to adapt this part of the route to service additional and longer cars, we recommended its appropriate redesign” – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK). Updated at the end of last year, the investment implementation schedule now assumes that the route will be operational at the turn of 2024 and 2025.

*This is the first in a series of articles on schedules and time management at construction sites. More to come soon.

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How will the Mistrzejowice tram terminus be altered?

Convenient access to housing estates, quite a lot of greenery, new lighting – this will be the new look of the Mistrzejowice terminus.

The tram terminus in Jancarza Street, constructed in the 70s, is going to undergo an extensive reconstruction. The terminus, opened on 29 November 1974, made quick carriage of passengers between Hipokratesa roundabout and Mistrzejowice possible. In 2024, also the route in a westerly direction will start here as part of KST IV project.

Mistrzejowice terminus tailored to the 21st century

The whole area will be newly developed: lush vegetation, new LED lighting, bicycle parking and convenient footways adjusted to the needs of people with disabilities will be provided. Residents of neighboring estates will benefit most from this reconstruction. Transfer to buses operating from a neighboring bus terminal will be much easier – the existing crosswalk will be moved westwards, thanks to which the distance will be shorter. Four comfortable tram platforms will be 65 meters long, which means that they will be significantly longer than the present ones, thanks to which passenger ingress and egress will be safer. At each of them, there will be waiting shelters with modern passenger information boards next to them. A new traffic control point will be constructed which will serve also as tram drivers’ facilities. The area between Jancarza, Załuskich and Kolbego Streets will be tailored to the 21st century.

Facilities for all traffic participants

A new dedicated bike path will be constructed on the southern side of Jancarza Street, reaching the terminus. It will be connected to the existing shared zone on the eastern side of the terminus. In order to meet the expectations of the residents, an additional lane was designed for turning right from Jancarza Street into Załuskich Street. This will be of benefit not only to those using public transport, but also to drivers and cyclists.

Since the new infrastructure is to be created at the location of an operating tram terminus, the matter of keeping the tram traffic during the construction works has to be solved. – The operation of the terminus will be undisturbed for most of the duration of the construction works. The traffic will be suspended temporarily for the planned integration of the new infrastructure, during which passengers will use replacement transport service. Those changes are scheduled for 2024 and will last no longer than a few months – says Wojciech Janosz, site manager from Gülermak – the company implementing the project.

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An information system or how will I know when the tram arrives?

There will be displays showing the estimated time of arrival of trams on each stop on the route to Mistrzejowice. Traffic Tram Supervision System (TTSS) is the source of this practical information.

Time is money so we appreciate modern technologies thanks to which we may efficiently and quickly get from A to B. Passengers of public transport in Kraków have been enjoying the benefits of TTSS for 14 years, which streamlines the management of urban transport in real time. Data from one of the system providers shows that TTSS supported shortening travel time by tram from Krowodrza Górki to Kurdwanów from 42 to just over 37 minutes. Together with the area-wide traffic lights control system, it helps residents save time on the way to work or school on a daily basis. The same software is used by some of the biggest cities worldwide: Zurich, London, Riyadh, Singapore and Bonn.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice comes together with a dynamic passenger information system

The TTSS comes with a bonus: a passenger information system with over 300 electronic displays placed throughout the city showing estimated time of arrival of trams and buses and their final stop. The displays may be also used to quickly spread any messages, e.g. about changes in traffic organization or detours. The practical information is driven by advanced solutions that will also be applied on the tram route to Mistrzejowice.

Dynamic passenger information system – how does it work?

How do the displays “know” when the vehicle we expect arrives? How is the data displayed actually updated? The heart of the dynamic passenger information system is the route information controller located in the dispatcher of ZDMK and the MPK carrier. Data on the actual position of vehicles that are currently on the routes are provided by GPRS transmitters installed in them based on the GPS location. Advanced prediction algorithms, supporting precise prediction of departure times from stops, process them, also using historical data. This is how you get reliable information.

In order for the correct arrival times to be displayed at the specific stop, a broadcast system is needed. It uses optical fibers or GPRS. Effective data delivery requires not only the installation of displays (at each stop on the tram route to Mistrzejowice), but also underground infrastructure which was ensured already at the design stage.

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