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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A surface with improved parameters will boost noise protection

The contractor of the tram route to Mistrzejowice will apply a special mineral-asphalt mixture to reduce traffic noise even more effectively. Together with other solutions that suppress noise and vibrations, it will ensure everyday comfort for the residents.

The so-called ‘noise reducing’ surface is a solution that reduces the noise level associated with car traffic. For the sake of simplicity: it is more porous than a traditional wear layer. The air that collects in it supports absorbing some of the noise generated as a result of rolling wheels. The noise-reducing surface will be applied on the pavements reconstructed as part of the Tram to Mistrzejowice project. They will be placed in the area where tests revealed permissible noise standards may be exceeded.

Noise-reducing surface fitting urban conditions

According to the decision of environmental conditions, at least an SMA8 surface is required yet its properties work better on highways or expressways than in urban conditions – they reduce noise at higher speeds. In order to best match the designed solutions to the conditions in which the new infrastructure will operate, the private partner suggested using a different mixture: BBTM. It works well also on local roads where cars move slower.

“The designer’s assumptions for our investment, supported by research, imply that the BBTM pavement will reduce noise by approx. 4.5 decibels, while the previously proposed SMA8 mixture would provide a reduction of 1 decibel” – says Agnieszka Gurgacz, environmental protection specialist with Gülermak.

Protection against vibrations and noise

Together with the system reducing noise and vibrations from the trackbed area, vibration damping mats, green trackbed and noise barriers, the noise-reducing surface will ensure compliance with environmental quality standards in terms of noise as required under such investments. This condition could not be met when using SMA 8.

“We do not use BBTM surfaces in Kraków. The first one ever will be used in the Tram to Mistrzejowice construction. We hope that this technology will bring good results” – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).

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How will the tunnel in the area of Polsadu roundabout be constructed?

The tunnel in the central part of the tram route to Mistrzejowice requires the heaviest workload in the project. It will be constructed with the use of the top-down method on diaphragm walls. Here is an overview of individual steps.

Usually, before a tunnel is constructed within developed areas, buried utilities conflicting with the planned structure are relocated. In such a way, the site is prepared for further works, and residents of the neighboring areas are provided with continuous supply of all utilities. In the area of Polsadu roundabout, the network of underground utilities is dense, therefore, it was a huge challenge to design new routes for the water main, gas main and sewer piping.

Construction of a tunnel on the route to Mistrzejowice requires also that the underground stream Sudoł Dominikański running currently mostly under the median strip between the roadways of Młyńska Street is relocated. – According to the design, the stream will be moved under the western roadway of Młyńska Street and led in a southerly direction up to Młyńskie roundabout – explains Ewelina Woch, structure coordinator in Gülermak.

What are diaphragm walls and how are they constructed?

Once the site is prepared for construction works, trenching of diaphragm walls (d-walls) is commenced, that is of RC structural walls constructed in a narrow trench. They form the tunnel lining, transfer soil and groundwater pressure. They also minimize the impact of the excavation on the neighboring buildings and protect the tunnel against underground water inflow. Thanks to their structure, they can transfer significant loads and provide tunnel stability in such a way.

How are they created? First, a narrow and deep excavation is made with the use of a grab (in the case of KST IV, the excavation depth will reach from 11 to 24 m). Then, a reinforcement cage is placed in the excavation and filled with concrete with the use of the tremie method. It consists in concreting the wall upwards from the excavation bottom. When such walls are ready, construction of the top slab, that is, the bearing upper slab of the tunnel can start.

Top slab, excavation and bottom slab

The top slab is made on the ground, on a layer of lean concrete, with the use of waterproofing membranes. Once the upper slab is ready, the excavation can be commenced.

There are two methods of extracting soil from the tunnel: the top-down method and the boring method. – In order to extract spoil in the top-down excavation, a construction opening should be kept in the top slab, whereas in the boring method, soil is excavated from the tunnel portal. Both the methods will be used during the construction of KST IV – says Ewelina Woch.

Then, bottom slab of the tunnel has to be installed which is to be made on a layer of lean concrete – as in the case of the top slab. Its important element are membranes protecting the tunnel against groundwater permeability.

Finishing and fitments

After completion of structural works, the tram trackbed and various systems will be constructed, among others: water supply, catenary, telecoms and storm sewer systems. Also finishing works will be carried out in the tunnel for which fitments will be provided for the purpose of circulation, safety and traffic control. At this stage, also works on the ground surface are performed – necessary infrastructure is restored, vegetation is introduced in the area by means of adequate plant species.

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This is how the Climate change adaptation plan is implemented!

Construction of the tram route to Mistrzejowice is a practical response to the objectives specified in the Climate change adaptation plan for the City of Kraków until 2030. This will lead to reduction of traffic pollution and increased resistance of the transport sector to adverse effects of extreme weather events.

One of the most important objectives of Kraków is to reduce air pollution emissions. Particulate matter, sulfur oxide, nitric oxide – dispersion of these substances which are hazardous to health can be stopped. The actions taken however have to be diversified. One of the tools is to encourage as many residents as possible to use collective transport and to show that there is a more eco-friendly alternative, e.g. riding a bike or using public transport. However, in order to convince the motorists of Kraków to change their habits, a friendly infrastructure is indispensable.

Construction of a fast tram connection between the densely populated area of Mistrzejowice and the city center will be a special response to the residents’ need to be provided with well-organized collective transport in this part of the city. A dedicated tunnel, traffic control system, modern rolling stock powered by “green” energy – all that is to encourage residents to leave their cars parked and take the public transport.

Blue-green infrastructure for northern Kraków

The project will also lead to reduction and mitigation of effects of high temperatures and heavy rainfalls which have an increasing impact on the cities at our latitudes, since the tram route project is to be accompanied by the so-called blue-green infrastructure along the tracks: green trackbed increasing the natural water retention, “green” passenger waiting shelters, wildflower meadow, shared foot and cycleways as well as solutions for the elderly and people with disabilities. Also, compensation plantings are planned (1:1); they will include species resistant to difficult urban conditions, among others: drought, salinity or freezing.

The project includes a partial modernization of the drainage system in the area where the tram route is to be located, which will also have an impact on water retention in case of rainstorms.

Tram to Mistrzejowice powered by clean energy

Modern, quiet and energy efficient rolling stock which will run on the designed route does not need fossil fuels to transport the passengers. It is electricity powered – in Kraków, it is “green” energy from renewable sources which are climate neutral. On the basis of a 2-year contract with a big energy company, Kraków is provided with supplies of clean power, used i.a. for trams.

As part of the project of the tram route to Mistrzejowice, also the use of small photovoltaic systems, producing power for the operation of the route is being considered. They could be installed e.g. on some of the waiting shelters, providing self-sufficient power supply for lighting.

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A public-private partnership offers promising prospects

Local governments in Poland and throughout Europe are seeking opportunities for quick and effective development. Just like Kraków, they are choosing the PPP formula to offer residents the highest quality services without overburdening budgets.

Polish cities are developing intensively which triggers major investment needs. The big question is where to get money for the construction of roads, schools, water supply and at the same time not to neglect the maintenance of the existing infrastructure. Each infrastructure project is a burden on the budget (own contribution, loan) and affects the overall investment plans. To respond to these dilemmas, regulations were put in place to facilitate the public-private partnership (PPP) model which generates virtually no costs for the local government at the construction stage. It does not require a time-consuming search for financing and does not affect the local government’s debt ratio. A private partner performing the task receives the first payment only after the residents start using the new infrastructure.

PPP: spending money more effectively

According to the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, 165 PPP contracts have been made in Poland since 2009, mainly covering projects in the field of energy efficiency, sports and tourism and transport infrastructure. Not an impressive number yet the interest in PPP is growing year by year. 68 projects are currently being prepared which will potentially be implemented in this formula. Most of them are for the transport infrastructure. They are estimated at a total of PLN 8.3bn.

“There are not many projects of this type on the market right now, but this should change in the coming years. We can clearly see public awareness and practice is being developed in this matter, which makes potential private partners – who are ready and willing to participate in tender procedures – very happy” – says Michał Wójcik, COO with Gülermak, in a recent interview for inwestycje.pl website.

Awareness is growing and advantages seem attractive. What are these? “Number one, from the perspective of public finance: it is cheaper – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK) in an interview for transport-publiczny.pl  whose institution is developing the tramway route to Mistrzejowice in partnership with Gülermak. “The amount [approx. PLN 1.3 billion – ed.] includes not only the construction of approximately 4.5 km of the route, but also its maintenance for the next 20 years. Afterwards, the partner will hand us over the route already renovated” – he adds.

“The second advantage is completion time. A private partner is not restricted by various procedures binding on the public sector – it implements the investment faster, with fewer risks, and has wider access to appropriate human resources and new technologies”.

European experiences

Several European countries can boast of a really wide and effective use of PPP. According to the latest Review of the European PPP Market in 2020, 34 PPP transactions reached financial close. The biggest number of such projects was launched in France (e.g. the RCEA route, consisting of a series of roads connecting the east and west of the country) while the projects performed in Germany were of the highest value (e.g. extension of the A3 motorway). In general, transport sector tasks are predominant and are considered to be the most promising for the PPP model.

The tramway to Mistrzejowice is not the only investment of this type in Europe. The first tramway route is currently being developed in Liege and is scheduled for completion in 2023. For several years, routes built as part of PPP in Zaragoza and Dijon have been successfully operating. Success stories are there and once the investment is completed, it is worth passing on the experience.

Kraków as the role model

The tramway to Mistrzejowice is already today labeled the largest transport project in Poland made in the PPP formula. Kraków is supported by the government in its preparations and partnership while the private partner is approaching international funding institutions. Kraków’s experience will serve as the basis for developing guidelines for other cities planning to leverage on the PPP while implementing their projects aimed at serving the residents.

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Sedum instead of grass – this will be a trackbed suited to a modern city

As much as 74% of the area used for the construction of the tram route to Mistrzejowice is to be biologically active. An important element will be the so-called green trackbed where sedum mats will be installed. It is an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to a traditional lawn.

Green trackbed technology is becoming increasingly popular in Polish cities. It is not only aesthetic but also eco-friendly and cost effective. This solution enables filtration of pollution, e.g. dust stirred up by vehicle traffic, and, to a certain extent, reduces the noise by absorbing acoustic energy. Therefore, when designing KST IV, the private partner undertook to introduce greenery within the trackbed area, wherever technically feasible, instead of using concrete or crashed stone ballast. And this all will be done in an exceptional way.

Colorful drought-resistant carpets

Instead of traditionally sown grass, the trackbed will be decorated with sedum mats made of drought-resistant plants. In spring and in summer, sedums bloom beautifully creating a colorful carpet, whereas in autumn, their colors change to brown and red. So, they please they eye, regardless of the season. What is more, installation of sedum mats is quick and extremely easy. And what about the effect? It is immediately visible – without waiting for the greenery to sprout.

It is worth mentioning that maintenance of sedum mats is easy and cheap – they do not have to be mown or regularly watered since they are drought-resistant. As a comparison: in order to mow grass sown within the area of the designed trackbed between the intersection of Meissnera / Lema Streets and the Mistrzejowice terminus, 37,182 liters of fuel would be needed per year*. This amount refers to the mowers only (excluding the fuel needed to transport the equipment, personnel or the grass cut). In order to water such grass-covered tram tracks just once, 123,970 liters of water would be needed, totaling 5,578,650 liters of water per year!** These are real benefits for the environment (resource saving) and for the budget.

The company Tramwaje Warszawskie calculated that maintenance of 1 linear meter of a single track of a green trackbed made of sedum mats is cheaper by ca. 85 zlotys/year than maintenance of 1 linear meter of traditional lawn.

Less dust, greater diversity

As regards more mundane environmental benefits – urban areas planted with sedums are an example of green infrastructure creating the so-called green corridors which increase biodiversity and reduce the temperature of the surrounding environment. They also retain rainwater at the place of their accumulation and filtrate air by preventing dust emission. Furthermore, they reduce the level of noise generated by trams. Such a solution, the benefits of which are obvious, can be applied also on roofs of passenger waiting shelters.


* assuming that the surface area of the green trackbed amounts to 12,397 m2, the period it has to be mown lasts 6 months a year and 1.5 l of fuel is needed to mow 1 m2 of the lawn

** assuming that grass has to be watered 3 times a week during 15 weeks per year

photo: UM Poznan

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Questions? Comments? Choose how you want to contact us

By phone, e-mail or Messenger? Here’s how you can reach us to get reliable information about the construction of Tramway route to Mistrzejowice.

Since mid-June 2021 when the design hotline was launched and a dedicated inbox set up for the Tramway to Mistrzejowice, several dozens of individuals and organizations have used these communication channels. This is the easiest and fastest way to obtain information about the future construction or to make a comment or file a request. Each contact made is recorded together with the response time. We want our replies to be helpful and comprehensive and made in the shortest possible time.

Hotline +48 722 22 00 88 is available throughout the entire design and construction phase from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 4 pm. Please send your e-mails to info@tramwajdomistrzejowic.pl. However, these are not the only contact channels with the tramway construction site office.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice in the social media

Many residents are reaching us in the social media – they post comments or use Messenger at the Facebook page of the Tramway to Mistrzejowice. Since the project is still in the design phase, responses reflect the current state of works and the solutions addressed in the questions may still be subject to adjustments. Thank you for your opinions, we follow and participate in the discussions on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow our LinkedIn profile and the project website to find regular updates. We will launch Instagram channel once the construction starts.

In the future residents will be able to visit us personally – there are plans to open a permanent information point in the area of the construction site.

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Tramway to Mistrzejowice to be disabled-accessible

Disability ramps, elevators, tactile paving – these are just selected examples of solutions that make it easier for disabled passengers to use public transport. The design of the tram route to Mistrzejowice features many more of them. It is focusing especially on the needs of persons with reduced mobility, using wheelchairs as well as the blind and partially sighted.

The right cars are not enough to make public transport friendly for the disabled, the elderly or parents with children in prams. Getting on and off a tram or bus safely is equally important. It is vital that the newly designed stops be safe and comfortable for passengers with special needs.

The tram route to Mistrzejowice was designed both in accordance with technical requirements for roads and engineering structures as well as with the guidelines of the Consulting Team for the accessibility of urban infrastructure for the disabled. “We put special emphasis on eliminating potential barriers on the stop platforms for people with mobility limitations, people in wheelchairs, partially sighted and the blind” – says Anna Marczewska-Wojtas, KST IV Architecture Coordinator with Gülermak. The solutions also include amenities for parents with small children.

Tram stops on the route to Mistrzejowice are available for the disabled

Platform edges and areas just before steps to the underground stops (by the stairs) will feature warning stripes with a changed texture and contrasting colors. “Convenient elevators will be providing access for persons with reduced mobility, including wheelchair users, to all levels of underground stops at Polsadu and Młyńskie roundabouts” – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK). Parents with children in prams will also be happy to use them.

Underground floors will have tactile paving for the blind and partially sighted to guide them to all areas and devices that can be used by these persons, e.g. elevators, stairs, platforms.  “Marked changes in traffic directions together with media lanes form an uninterrupted communication route to facilitate movement and orientation in the facility” – says Anna Marczewska-Wojtas. The floor and walls of the underground areas will be made of various materials, contrasting in color, and the finishing materials will not be glaring. The surface of floors or stairs will be anti-slippery.

As the underground station at Polsadu roundabout will have public toilets, there will be a separate toilet equipped with sanitary facilities adapted to the needs of the disabled. There will also be a room for parents with children with a changing table and a feeding place.

Safe pedestrians along the tram route to Mistrzejowice

Warning stripes will also be made before and at pedestrian crossings, on the border between the pavement and the street lane. Pedestrian routes have been designed so that people on wheelchairs have room for movement, including maneuvering space for changing direction. They will also be free from any obstacles while and the so-called street architecture items, like litter bins, information boards, etc., will be placed outside the main communication space. Pavements and external ramps will be made of durable materials intended for intensively used areas.

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Tram route to Mistrzejowice – performance of construction works one step closer

– Use of private capital from the free market enabled commencement of a project which is vital for the residents. First payment will be made to the partner only once the route is opened – stresses Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).

Why has the city decided to choose the PPP model for this project?

Investment budgets of local government administration are limited due to the necessity of financing an increasing number of new tasks. The ability of local government to incur liabilities, hence to provide direct (own) financing, is getting smaller. Thus, the city of Kraków decided to use government support for projects in the public-private partnership (PPP) model. It presented the task which was noticed and selected. Use of private capital from the free market will enable construction of this connection within only a few next years, which connection is so important for the residents. One of the main challenges is to provide a connection between this part of the city and the city center as soon as possible. The first tranche payment will be made to the partner once the rout is opened.

The new tram route is to run along Meissnera, Młyńska, Lublańska, Dobrego Pasterza, Bohomolca and Jancarza Streets. What led to the selection of this route?

As a matter of fact, the Mistrzejowice district located in the northern part of Kraków has a tram connection with the city center, however it is an indirect route running through the neighboring district – Nowa Huta. In order to get to the so-called first bypass of Kraków, the tram from the Mistrzejowice terminus has to cover the distance of 11 km. Several options of the new tram route connecting this part of the city with its center have been discussed in Kraków for a long time as the next stage of extension of the Kraków Fast Tram (KST). In public consultations, 63% of the residents opted for the chosen route. In 2015, the city finally decided to choose a route of approx. 4.5 km, running almost the entire length along existing streets and crossing three major roundabouts crucial for the communication system of Kraków. The line would connect with the existing tram road to Nowa Huta at the intersection of Meissnera and Jana Pawła II streets.

A part of the route is to run underground. Will there be a tunnel similar to the one under the Main Railway Station which is well-known to the passengers?

The designed tunnel will in fact be similar in certain respects to the existing structure in the area of the main railway station but also to the tram tunnel which is being constructed as part of the Łagiewnicka Route. Its part will be an enclosed structure below the ground level, whereas the rest of it will be open. In the area of Polsadu roundabout, a passenger transfer point is planned to be constructed with tram traffic on -2 level and pedestrian circulation on -1 level. The underground stops will be accessed from entrances located on each side of the roundabout and equipped with elevators and escalators. Such a solution will enhance safety of passengers, in particular the elderly, people with reduced mobility or parents with children in prams. Also at Młyńskie roundabout, the stop will be located on -1 level. It will be accessed by means of two staircases, on the northern side of the roundabout with traditional stairs and elevators.

In Polish cities there are more and more tram routes with the so-called green trackbed. Will the route to Mistrzejowice also follow this trend?

In recent years, it can be seen that in urban agglomeration, where there is a strong emphasis on environmental issues, green trackbed systems are constructed. This solution enables filtration of pollution, e.g. dust stirred up by vehicle traffic, and, to a certain extent, reduces the noise absorbing acoustic energy. Being aware of those advantages, we obliged the private partner to design and apply green trackbed on the route to Mistrzejowice to the greatest extent possible.

What is the current stage of the project?

The partner filed an application for a road construction consent (ZRID). Works on the detailed design are still in progress – the building permit design is being complemented and elaborated.  According to the new schedule, the residents will be able to use the new route in December 2024.

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