July 20 2012

Build It and Sprawl Will Grow: Current Debates on the 3rd Bridge Project in Istanbul, Turkey

Bosphorus BridgeOn 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.

3rd Bridge Debate in Istanbul

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.

Nazlı Ödevci

Nazlı Ödevci is a recent graduate of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden with an M.Sc. in Design for Sustainable Development in Architecture. She holds a B.S. in Architecture from Istanbul Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. Currently, Nazlı is working as an environmental specialist and LEED Green Associate in design phase of architectural projects in Turkey. She defines herself as a green design oriented urban & architectural intervention practitioner. She is currently residing in Istanbul but has strong connections to Swedish sustainable design practice.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 7:13 pm and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Energy, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


4 Responses to “Build It and Sprawl Will Grow: Current Debates on the 3rd Bridge Project in Istanbul, Turkey”

  1. Jordan Says:

    You mention a need for strong connections among “water transportation, tram, and metro systems.” This immediately reminds me of the public transit system in Vancouver, Canada. We have a similar situation with many bridges crossing the various rivers and inlets as they head to the Pacific Ocean, and I feel that our public transit has addressed this challenge well. There are three main components: city buses, skytrain metro lines, and sea buses. All of these integrate smoothly, with easy transfers among the various modes and universal pass and payment structures.

    I’ve visited Istanbul before, and I can see a similar system working quite well in the core areas.

  2. Nazlı Ödevci Says:

    Hi Jordan.
    Thanks for your comment. The system works well in the core areas however Istanbul is a large metropolis, and most people live by the ghettos and work in the center. There is a constant movement everyday between ghettos to centers; so that an equal public transportation system everywhere is an urgent need.
    When have you been to Istanbul? Did you see the bus system “metrobus”? It is the best public bus system connecting one side to another continously, carrying hundreds of thousands of people everyday!

  3. Environmental and Social Impacts of the Canal Istanbul Project, Turkey | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] eager to start city planning breakthroughs by developing large-scale projects such as The Canal and 3rd Bridge Project, however these projects should avoid negatively affecting the environment and future [...]

  4. SADAK Says:

    Building of 3rd Bhosphrous Bridge is good – Providing a better infra structure to ease out traffic in today’s context but what about tomorrow (10 years).

    We may need the 4th Bridge – A long term solution needs to be worked for such a dazzling, great city.

    1. Public transport needs to be promoted on City based level. As on date METOR, FERRY … is good but not efficient and effective to meet the demand

    2. Car’s use needs to be restricted – Heavy Taxes needs to be inserted for crossing the bridges. People crossing the bridge on either side by car should have min. 4 person else they should use the public transport.

    3. We should develop other cities – why the countries 25% of the population is only in ISTANBUL. Lets keep the beauty and charm of tourism and sight seeing for tourist.

    3. We are reducing the Green spots in the city by cutting down forest unlike major developed cities where the Green area’s is high depending on the population of the city

    4. Istanbul has started growing vertically because of land constrain…..

    Are we all working in Istanbul for Russia/Iran/Azeri’s in buying fuel and spending on the most expensive car.

    Today we are having among the few top countries in the world on Fuel being sold.

    Lets all start thinking before it is too late.

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