Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge to be built at city's northern edge
ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires | 4/29/2010 12:00:00 AM |
The Turkish government announced plans Thursday to construct a third bridge across the Bosphorus close to the strait’s northern entrance. (UPDATED)
The Turkish government announced plans Thursday to construct a third bridge across the Bosphorus close to the strait’s northern entrance in a move that angered the country’s main opposition party.
“The new bridge will be in the region of the Garipçe and Poyrazköy villages,” Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said during a press conference.
The project, which also involves a new motorway, will be completed within four or five years and is set to cost roughly $6 billion, including land appropriation payments, the minister said.
"We are planning to hold the tender within the year," Yıldırım told reporters, adding that the project would be carried out on a build-operate-transfer model "without the direct use of public funds."
The project will be the strait’s longest bridge at a length of nearly 1.3 kilometers and will be connected to a new 260-kilometer-long motorway that will run through Istanbul and the neighboring provinces of Kocaeli and Sakarya.
Yıldırım also said 75 percent of the land on which the proposed highway is supposed to pass presently belongs to the state, meaning that the expropriation expenditures will be lower.
[HH] No harm to the environment
The minister said authorities have ensured that their proposed route would harm the environment only minimally.
Critics of the project, however, said a new bridge would not only damage the picturesque landscape on the Bosphorus banks but also encourage more people to use cars, thus failing to alleviate Istanbul's chronic traffic problem.
In response, the minister said the bridge would handle the majority of transiting heavy truck traffic that presently use roads in the center of Istanbul, thereby creating much of the city’s traffic problems.
For the highway sections within Istanbul’s provincial boundaries, 16 percent of the land is in private hands, while 48 percent is forest, the minister said, adding that 222 buildings would be expropriated.
He further said the forested land had also lost its quality as a forest.
Meanwhile, Gürsel Tekin, head of the Istanbul branch of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said the bridge was not in the city’s official plan and was even being built allegedly against the opposition of Mayor Kadir Topbaş.
The route of the bridge and the highway is “a real scandal” and is in the middle of “Istanbul’s lungs and water basin,” Tekin said, adding that Topbaş was powerless to stop the bridge’s construction.
In another major project, a Japanese-Turkish consortium is currently building a 1.6-kilometer railway tunnel, 60 meters below sea level underneath the Bosphorus.