Closure of lanes on second Bosphorus bridge snares Istanbul traffic
ISTANBULThe closure of two lanes on the second bridge spanning the Bosphorus, as of 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, caused chaos in the city’s already congested traffic.
Works on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, due to continue until 10 p.m. on Nov. 7, are part of an attempt to tighten traffic regulations over the Bosphorus.
The authorities took action after heavy trucks were identified using the second bridge despite being instructed to cross over the third bridge, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, in an attempt to ease congestion.
Accordingly, highway authority personnel started to place temporary barriers at the entrance to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in order to establish a system to monitor vehicles travelling from the Asian side to the European side and to ensure that no trucks use the bridge in that direction.
Barriers on the other side were not seen as necessary because the tollbooths at the entrance of the European side ensure that trucks do not pass in that direction. Such tollbooths do not exist in the other direction.
Throughout the duration of the works, traffic will flow in three lanes in each direction, with one lane on each side being closed to traffic.
Vehicles on the roads leading to the bridge came to a standstill on Sept. 25, the first day of the week, especially during the morning during rush hours. Hours of gridlock left drivers seeking alternative transportation routes, causing even more congestion at peak times on the alternative first bridge over the Bosphorus, also known as The 15 July Martyrs Bridge.
Some drivers protested after having to spend hours in gridlock on the road to reach their destinations, with the traffic jams continuing into the afternoon.
“When will this suffering end? What are we doing to do every day? If we use the new passage, that will be very expensive as well,” one driver was quoted as saying, referring to the Eurasia Tunnel underneath the Bosphorus that opened last year.
Until recently, two lanes on Istanbul’s first bridge were also closed to traffic for maintenance. The maintenance works, which continued through the summer, came to a halt shortly before schools reopened on Sept. 18, which triggered further traffic congestion as thousands of student shuttle buses entered the fray along with many other vehicles.