Piłsudski Bridge

The bridge was built to in the axis of Krakowska and Legionów Streets, a site already planned for the construction of a bridge at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was to replace the Podgórski bridge, located a bit further down the river. Construction work, led by professor Andrzej Pszenicki, started in June 1926, and the bridge was opened on January 19, 1933.

The bridge was designed by a design office of the Department of Bridge Building of the Ministry of Public Works in Warsaw. The team of engineers working on the project included Aleksander Witkowski, Tadeusz Zagner, Michal Zalewski and the supervisor, Prof. Andrzej Pszenicki, a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of St. Petersburg and the Institute of Transport Engineers. He designed, among others, the Palace Bridge in St. Petersburg and supervised the construction and reconstruction of several bridges in Russia. He was also the rector of the Warsaw University of Technology.

Concrete abutments, seated on foundation, were covered with dolomite. Two concrete pillars of the bridge from the water inlet side were lined with granite and from the outflow side – with dolomite. The iron truss bridge structure was made in the Kraków-based United Machinery, Boiler and Wagons Plant L. Zieleniewski and Fitzner - Gamper, and its installation, completed in January 1931, was performed by the same company.

The carriageway of 10 m width was lined with basalt cobbles. On both sides of the road, behind girders, pedestrian walkways were made, each of 3 m width, paved with asphalt made and put in place by Limbit - Polmin, which was one of the main producers of asphalt in Poland at that time. Metal railings were made in Huta Pokój in Ruda Śląska. The bridge has the length of 146 m, and the highly arched middle span has 72 m length.

Due to the necessity of building access roads, some structures on both sides of the Vistula River were demolished, including the market hall in Podgórze. Until January 1932, when the bridge was opened, only the side approaches were finished on both sides, and it took two more years to build the access roads in the axis of the bridge as well as Krakowska and Legionów Streets.

The bridge opened on January 19, 1933, already as the Józef Piłsudski Bridge. The construction of the bridge and the approaches cost the city and the government 5 million zł. Fees for bridge use were collected on cars and carts, as well as pedestrians.

The bridge was mined by the German army and partially damaged in January 1945, but in 1948 it was rebuilt in its original form. Until then, a makeshift wooden crossing was used, built for tanks on the lower boulevards by the Red Army sappers.

More information:

W. Brzoskwinia, B. Krzaczyńska, Mosty wiślane [in:] Mosty Krakowa do 1945  Katalog wystawy Muzeum Inżynierii Miejskiej w Krakowie, Kraków 2002