Controversy over third Bosphorus bridge’s route change

Controversy over third Bosphorus bridge’s route change

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Controversy over third Bosphorus bridge’s route change

A ground-breaking ceremony for Istanbul’s third bridge was held in the Garipçe area on Istanbul's European side May 29. DHA photo

A document sent by the Transport Ministry to several district municipalities about the construction of third bridge on Bosphorus has stirred a debate on whether the route was miscalculated.

The authorities have indicated that the work has changed, but the company in charge of the project and the ministry have denied that any change of route has taken place.

“It is appropriate to cancel the current construction plan due to the necessity of making a revision, which resulted from changes of the route project,” said the document signed by Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım on June 11 and written by State Highways Directorate Director-General Mehmet Cahit Turhan.

The document was sent to the 15 district municipalities that will be affected by the bridge project, including the Sarıyer Municipality on the European side of Istanbul.

Affect on cost

Sarıyer Mayor Şükrü Genç told the Hürriyet Daily News on July 12 that the bridge plans had been changed after the construction work started based on the document sent to his municipality.

However, he said the plan’s provisions could not be changed after the project started, noting that the ministry should clarify how the changes will affect the cost and duration of the project.

A representative from the Turkish firm IC İçtaş, which will build and operate the third bridge on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, with the Italian company Astaldi, has denied the claims and said that the plans for the bridge’s route not changed.

“Nothing has changed in our existing route of construction. We are continuing our construction activities on the route that we had earlier announced. What is happening today may be just about some bureaucratic exchanges of letters about a minor change of route, which was made months ago before the construction had begun,” an IC İçtaş representative told the Hürriyet Daily News on July 12.

Early changes

Some minor changes, namely retouches, were made earlier on the route to minimize the negative effects of the construction on environment such as protecting water basins, the company representatives said just after the groundbreaking ceremony of the bridg on May.

They added that they would build 65 viaducts and one ecological small bridge to preserve the natural life, despite extra costs.

Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said late July 12 that the claims about a change in the route of the bridge were not true.

“The circulating documents are about small but compulsory changes in the route to protect the water basins and the migration routes of various birds. Some resulting stories do not reflect the truth. The route of the bridge won’t change.”