Bridge chaos in Istanbul

Bridge chaos in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Bridge chaos in Istanbul

Locals and foreigners in Istanbul wait for hours in traffic jams after a bridge closure. AA Photo

Istanbul residents faced traffic chaos on the way home yesterday after the middle section of Istanbul’s Haliç Bridge over the Golden Horn was temporarily shut down after sections connecting the bridge to the E-5 highway broke off at around 9:15 a.m.

“There is nothing to fear. Maintenance work is underway on the bridge. Only the wedge came loose, and it will be repaired today. [The middle section] will be opened to traffic tomorrow,” said Mehmet Karaman, the top regional highways director, who also arrived on the scene to gather information about the incident.

Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters that the repair work was expected to finish late yesterday. Istanbul traffic was still jammed as the Hürriyet Daily News went to print late yesterday.
Access to the busy area of Mecidiyeköy in Şişli remained restricted as vehicles were forced to use the other two open lanes while road maintenance personnel from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality arrived to repair the bridge.

The middle section of the bridge, also known as “the Old Haliç,” rose seven to eight centimeters above the level of the connecting highway after screws on the barriers came loose and broke off, according to reports.

Officials advised drivers to either take the TEM highway or the coastal road as a detour as the breakdown led to a huge traffic jam over the E-5 highway in the direction of Mecidiyeköy.
Meanwhile, an engineer from Japanese-based IHI company also inspected the Haliç bridge.
A subcontractor firm subsequently issued orders for two jacks capable of lifting 500 tons each in response to the engineer’s directives.

The jacks will reportedly be placed on the two legs of the bridge and lift them up simultaneously, while officials have already begun laying asphalt over the bridge as an interim solution.

The bridge will be reopened to traffic after the work is completed, and the bridge’s legs will also be reinforced some time thereafter as a permanent solution, according to reports.