The Bosphorus Bridge was opened in 1973. Hürriyet photo
Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge will undergo maintenance in 2013 that is likely to last longer than the current work on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet (FMS) bridge that has plunged the city into traffic chaos, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.
The minister said the Bosphorus Bridge could be closed down entirely for the duration of the work. “The situation would be worse on the Bosphorus Bridge. The maintenance work there will take longer [than the work on the FSM bridge]," Yıldırım was quoted as saying by daily Akşam.
The work on the bridge will last longer because it is older and the suspension cables that hold together the entire structure need replacement, he said.
The maintenance is a must for the old bridge, and it would be unacceptable to keep the link open to alleviate traffic jams for the time being if the entire structure was to collapse in the long term, he said.
Three lanes on the FSM Bridge are currently closed to traffic due to maintenance, making long traffic jams in Istanbul a daily occurrence. The repair work, which began June 18, is slated to be finished by Sept. 17.
Yıldırım said the ongoing repairs on the FSM bridge were not being conducted to "torment people."
"The repairs had to be done, if not today, then tomorrow. We would pay dearly, in lives and material, if the bridges are not maintained," he said, adding that that were trying to complete the maintenance on the bridge as quickly as possible.