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Fears for Prague's Charles Bridge

An engineering marvel, the Charles Bridge suffers from shoddy renovations.

The city and the state historical institute both have come under fire for failed oversight, while the contractor is faulted by turn for its failure to properly finish the work.

Pavel Kamenik, a spokesman for SMP, the contractor, said his company was not to blame for perceived shortcomings in the $10-million renovation.

“We had instructions confirmed by the historical preservationist’s office,” he wrote in an email.

“Civil engineers, architects, historical preservationists and other experts were cooperating on the project from the very beginning.”

Kamenik (a name that is, ironically, Czech for “stonemason”) said SMP followed instructions given to them “by the team of experts," that included representatives from Faculty of Science, historical preservationists and representatives from the city of Prague.

“We discovered that it was very well insulated and that there was no water getting in,” said Knezinek, the head of the city's preservation department. “So we are very satisfied with the first part of the work they did and that is all I have to say to it."

After a brief pause, he added: "We're not so far very satisfied with the masonry work and exchanging [replacing] the stone blocks.”