Bosphorus bridge maintenance jams traffic during rush hour

Bosphorus bridge maintenance jams traffic during rush hour

Bosphorus bridge maintenance jams traffic during rush hour

The first day of a road maintenance project on Istanbul’s Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge caused a heavy traffic jam on both the European and Asian sides of the metropolis on June 27.

According to digital map application calculations, the traffic queue in the east-west direction, from Asia to Europe, reached almost 25 kilometers during the morning hours, extending the time of crossing the 1-kilometer-long bridge from a few minutes to several hours.

The traffic bottleneck occurred on the European side of the bridge, where four of the eight lanes were closed, bringing down the number of lanes to two in each direction.

The project to replace the asphalt coating on the bridge - one of the three Bosphorus Strait bridges connecting Asia with Europe - is expected to take 50 days, the General Directorate for Highways said in a statement on June 24.

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is a 30-year old suspension structure spanning between Istanbul’s districts of Beykoz on the Asian side and Sarıyer on the European side.

Nearly 170,000 vehicles on average crossed the bridge in each direction each day in 2018, official data shows.

Traditionally, Istanbul’s Asian side has been mostly residential oriented compared with the many business and industrial zones on the European side, thus hundreds of thousands of people cross the Bosphorus to get to work every day. Traffic jams occur on the Asian side during morning rush hour and on the European side in the afternoon till the evening.

The intercontinental commuters of Istanbul have had more travel options in recent years, with the addition of a third bridge on the Bosphorus, a vehicle tunnel and a rail tunnel under the Bosphorus to the iconic ferries and the two bridges connecting the two sides.