On May 29th, 2012, news about the 3rd bridge project hit Turkish prime time news. According to the news, Turkish construction firm İçtaş and Italian construction group Astaldi, through a joint venture, has won the 3rd Bridge tender by offering the shortest construction and commissioning time. The bridge will be completed by the end of 2015, it is estimated. The rest of the project, including a 100-km-long motor highway and connecting roads to current motorways, will continue being constructed together with a developing industry zone. In total, the project will cost about 6 billion dollars.
The bridge project will be located on the Bosphorus; a sea between the Asian and European continents, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Because it is a sea between two continents, the Bosphorus is the only example of its identicals in the world; creating layers of magnificent silhouettes day and night. There are already two bridges on the Bosphorus: The first one, called the Bosphorus Bridge, was presented as a gift to Istanbul dwellers for the new Turkish Republic’s 50th year celebration on October 29th, 1973. The second bridge, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, opened to the public on July 3rd, 1988, claiming that first bridge fails to cover the traffic demands and will only be used for transit carriage. Today, approximately 145 million cars pass along these two bridges each year, of which only 3% percent is transit trucking. A third bridge idea, along the same line as the second’s, has been discussed since 2001 and media coverage increased during 2009.
Istanbul is a large metropolis, and obviously needs a well-connected, continuous transportation infrastructure. Head government claims current bridges are not enough for Istanbul’s traffic, again, therefore Istanbul needs a third bridge. But is it right to allocate such a large budget for only car transportation? According to researches, people would rather choose public transportation, than private cars. The report of IMECE (Society’s Urban Movement) claims that the current government avoids giving the real reasons for building a new bridge on the Bosphorus. With 6 billion dollars, the municipality could build a 240 km tram line and a 150 km metro instead of a new bridge. IMECE underlines that a new bridge project will only lead to constructing 4th and 5th bridges, and yet traffic problems will remain unsolved unless public transportation is strongly connected to water transportation, tram, and metro systems are preferred.
As an Istanbul citizen suffering from traffic congestion, daily, I believe that long-term planning for public transportation and infrastructure is essential. Wouldn’t it be a smarter decision to pursue public transportation alternatives instead of opening up new asphalt roads for automobiles which will eventually lead people to buy more cars, create more CO² emissions, and sound & air pollution, while damaging natural resources?
What kind of alternative transportation systems are built in your country in such situations?
Credits: Images and documents linked to sources.