Cahit Turhan, the general director of highways, said the project to build a third Bosphorus bridge was waiting for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to designate a corridor in the scope of the city’s transportation master plan.
"We have a few alternatives; we have let them know through which points and corridors we may pass. If they give us one of the corridors, we will make the highway there for the third bridge," said Turhan. "We will do this by the build-operate-transfer method."
Turhan gathered with area directors in Büyük Abant Hotel at Bolu Abant National Park, where he answered questions from the Doğan news agency.
Turhan said the third bridge is a part of the North Marmara Highway. "Here, there is a need for a bridge either 1,000 or 1,250 meters long. The points that it can be built upon are determined. If we are told a corridor, we will build the highway transfer point from there."
Over 2.5 million vehicles in Istanbul
Turhan pointed that the number of vehicles in Istanbul is over 2.5 million. "There are two bridges on the Bosphorus that connect the European and Asian sides. The traffic passing over them contains approximately 450,000 in both ways."
Turhan said they are estimating the real number should be 600,000, but the traffic is suppressed. "The strong demand from both sides and difficulties at the transfer points are the reasons for that. Having long-term traffic jams means that the infrastructure is insufficient for the density of this traffic."
Turhan said every Istanbul resident is aware of the need to increase transport capacity. "Everybody suffering from this knows that," he said. "According to our calculations, the mentioned 600,000 capacity is almost there for the third bridge."
Loss of time on the bridges
He argued that the third bridge will ease the load from the first two bridges and more people will be able to drive without being afraid of getting stuck in traffic.
"These difficulties are being experienced on both sides of the Bosphorus, between Hadımköy and Aksaray or Kartal and Kadıköy. Especially at certain hours people slow down to 20 kilometers per hour," he said. "This causes higher costs for transportation. People reach their destinations in longer periods of time. People need to be productive when they come to work in the morning; their productivity decreases when they tire on the road. More fuel is also being used, and the vehicles wear down more quickly."
Accidents on Bolu Mountain
Turhan also mentioned that the precautions taken have decreased the number of accidents on Bolu Mountain. Turhan said that when the road was first opened, there were only warning signs and they were not enough to slow down drivers.
Now, there are electronic warnings that Turhan hopes to be more effective. "The drivers thought they were driving by the rules when they were speeding," he said. "Geometrically, the road is suitable for speeding; the driver does not realize the speed of the vehicle."
Turhan said the drivers have to slow down when entering the tunnel of Bolu Mountain and that they have taken precautions for that to happen. "Against the speeding vehicles, we set lines inside the tunnel that will not disturb the comfort of the vehicle but create noise. We measure their speed at entering and leaving electronically. We warn them to give them another chance to be in control."
Turhan said there were not too many accidents on Bolu Mountain this year. "We have built an automatic system to prevent icing," he said. "It determines the weather conditions and spreads anti-icing to the road automatically, preventing the icing."