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New metro line in Istanbul to be tested soon

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 7/11/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Testing on the Bus Terminal-Başakşehir-Olympic Village metro line will begin this year, the Istanbul mayor said Friday, adding that the new line will start running in 2011.

Testing on the Bus Terminal-Başakşehir-Olympic Village metro line in Istanbul will begin this year, Mayor Kadir Topbaş said Friday, adding that the new line will be operational by 2011.

The 21.7-kilometer line will cost $1.1 billion to build and will transport 36,000 people each hour once completed, the mayor said, speaking at the Olympic Village metro station while wearing a construction helmet on his head, the Anatolia news agency reported Friday.

“We are witnessing a historic event. When the Olympic Village was constructed, there were transportation problems. Now, from Başakşehir to the bus terminal it will take 24 minutes; to the airport, 37 minutes; to Yenikapı, 43 minutes; to Taksim, 51 minutes; to Seyrantepe, 66 minutes; to Hacıosman, 75 minutes; to Üsküdar, 56 minutes; to Kadıköy, 61 minutes; and to Kartal, 90 minutes,” Topbaş said. “This is civilization!”

The line will start at the city’s main bus terminal in Esenler, continue through the Bağcılar district, past the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, and then through the İkitelli district to the fourth stage of the Başak Housing Units, the mayor said. Light rail will serve the stretch from the bus terminal to Kirazlı and a metro line will run from Kirazlı to the Başak Housing Units.

“In Istanbul, a total 48.5 kilometer-long rail system is under construction. There are 80 train cars and 16 stations in this system,” Topbaş said. “A total of 85 percent of the construction has been completed. Despite the economic crisis, we have used half of the budget for investments. Investments in highways cost 6.5 billion Turkish Liras and metro lines cost $3.5 billion.”

Such investments support economic growth and contribute to employment, the mayor added.

When the rail system becomes operational, transportation in Istanbul will be safer and faster, Topbaş said, adding that the ease of transport will also help modernize and develop the city.

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