Tczew Bridge like Westerplatte - petition to the Government to take over the bridge


Tczew Bridge - it was here 80 years ago that World War II broke out. The State Treasury took over Westerplatte, we urge the Polish authorities to take over the Tczew Bridge, complete its protracted reconstruction and create a branch of the Museum of the Second World War. Residents and local authorities support this idea.

The petition is addressed to: the President of the Republic of Poland, the Prime Minister, the Chancellery of the Sejm, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

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A precedent was set in the summer of 2019 - despite the opposition of the Gdańsk authorities, MPs, senators and the President of the Republic of Poland adopted the special Act which passes the Westerplatte peninsula to the State Treasury in order to create a branch of the Museum of the Second World War there. Meanwhile, in Tczew, there is another important memorial site associated with World War II, whose takeover by the State could not be sought by local authorities for 20 years - we are talking about the historic, nineteenth-century Tczew Bridge. Until now, subsequent Tczew Starosts learned from representatives of subsequent governments that there were formal and legal barriers that prevented the takeover of the Tczew Bridge by the State. The Westerplatte Act shows that all such barriers can be bypassed at the central level. 

The Tczew Bridge was built in 1851-1857 and was then the longest bridge in the world. To this day, it is considered an engineering masterpiece. The turbulent history of this object is associated with World War II - it was here on 1 September 1939 at 4:34 the first Nazi bombs fell, which took place 11 minutes earlier than on Westerplatte. The bridges and the city of Tczew were defended by the heroic soldiers of the 2nd Rifle Battalion, who blew up the entrance portals and half of the existing spans. All this to prevent the Germans from taking the bridge. After World War II, the Tczew Bridge was provisionally rebuilt, and its final reconstruction has not taken place. In 1999, after reforming the administration in Poland, the bridge was handed over to the newly created Tczew Poviat, which could not afford the reconstruction of the monument. As a result, the Tczew Bridge is the only bridge on the Vistula that is in the hands of local government at the poviat level. In 2011, the eldership was forced to close the construction completely due to its very poor technical condition.

Since 2012, the proper reconstruction of the Tczew Bridge, divided into many stages, has been underway, which is to make the building look like it was before the outbreak of war. In 2019, seven years have passed since the beginning of the renovation, a total of about PLN 70 million has been spent, and the bridge has not been rebuilt even in half. Every few years, the eldership asks neighboring self-governments and the Ministry of Infrastructure for help in financing subsequent stages. With a very optimistic assumption, the full reconstruction of the Tczew Bridge could not be completed until 2028, which is 17 years after its closing.  

160 years ago, the Tczew Bridge was built in 7 years. Its current reconstruction may take up to several years. After the adoption of the Act on Westerplatte, we can no longer speak about barriers preventing the State Treasury from taking over the bridge, which the Tczew eldership has been trying to do for many years. We believe that full reconstruction could be completed in 3-4 years if Tczew Bridge was taken over by the state and credited with approx. PLN 100 million. Thanks to the one-off amount, it would be possible to resign from unusually long-term investment staging and very quickly restore not only the communication function of this construction, but also strengthen its function as a memorial and engineering monument. In the rebuilt entry portals and towers, another branch of the Museum of the Second World War could be created, reminding of the turbulent history of Tczew Vistula crossings and the heroic defenders of Tczew. 

The petition was initiated by Tczew journalists and members of the Social Committee for Bridge Reconstruction. A few years ago, SKOM (the Committee) successfully carried out a social campaign (over 4,000 signatures were collected), as a result of which the poviat authorities changed the modern variant of the reconstruction of the Tczew Bridge to a historic one, in line with the expectations of the residents. We do not want to refute the Westerplatte legend - we only want to point out that the first bombs of World War II also fell on Tczew. Both places - Westerplatte and the Tczew Bridge - deserve to be remembered. 

The idea of ​​handing over the bridge to the State is supported by the Tczew Starost and the Mayor of Tczew. Below we publish the words of the authorities who were broadcast on Tczew Television Tetka:

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