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AROUND SLOVAKIA

A 'Chuck Norris' bridge?

MEDIA have reported that Slovaks appear to overwhelmingly favour naming a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Bratislava after Chuck Norris, a 1980s action-film and TV star from the US. Two other top names in the internet voting for the bridge’s name, which will span the Morava River to Austria, are Maria Theresa, in honour of the Austro-Hungarian empress, and Devínska Cycling Bridge after the closest Slovak town, Devínska Nová Ves that is now a district of Bratislava.

The Austrian part of the cycling bridge over the Morava River is already in place.(Source: TASR)

MEDIA have reported that Slovaks appear to overwhelmingly favour naming a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Bratislava after Chuck Norris, a 1980s action-film and TV star from the US. Two other top names in the internet voting for the bridge’s name, which will span the Morava River to Austria, are Maria Theresa, in honour of the Austro-Hungarian empress, and Devínska Cycling Bridge after the closest Slovak town, Devínska Nová Ves that is now a district of Bratislava.

Other names proposed for the bridge include Bridge of Victims of the Iron Curtain; Schlosshof Bridge, in honour of the nearby Austrian palace of that name; Relax Bridge; the Juraj Jánošík Footbridge; and the Bridge of Friendship. Three names had been proposed by officials of the Bratislava Region government but they agreed to leave the final decision to a vote by local residents.

“We are happy about the interest in the cycling bridge aroused by the poll. After 60 years, the bridge will re-unite Austria and Slovakia across the Morava. The region’s intention was to make people more aware of this bridge, which was successful thanks to this poll,” said Pavol Frešo, the president of Bratislava Region, to the TASR newswire, while adding that the final decision on a name will be coordinated with officials of the Lower Austria region.

The head of the Lower Austria regional government, Erwin Pröll, said he would not be happy with naming the bridge after Chuck Norris. But he did stress the importance of finishing the bridge.
Naming the bridge after Chuck Norris apparently started as a prank but nevertheless that name was leading the poll at the end of February, leaving Maria Theresa and other names such as Konečne most (Finally a Bridge) far behind. The poll will be open until April and it seems likely that someone will intervene and a name other than Chuck Norris will be chosen, TASR wrote.

A similar situation occurred in Hungary in 2006 when an internet-based competition to name a new bridge in Budapest was also briefly led by Chuck Norris. But a US comedian, Stephen Colbert, then entered the competition via his television show and received 17 million votes, about 7 million more than the entire population of Hungary. A government committee rejected the result, stating that Colbert would have to be fluent in Hungarian and be deceased for the bridge to be named after him. The bridge was finally named Megyeri híd (Megyer Bridge).

Construction of the bridge spanning the Morava began last September and archaeologists have discovered several objects dating back to the times of Maria Theresa such as the original pilings that were part of a bridge first built about 300 years ago. The new bridge is being constructed in such a way that it does not damage what is left of the original bridge. Construction should finish this summer, the SITA newswire wrote.

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