Haliç bridge shaping up

Haliç bridge shaping up

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Haliç bridge shaping up


As the metro bridge over Istanbul’s Golden Horn begins to take shape, experts are critiquing its construction, saying the contractors have not remained faithful to the original plans and are ruining the silhouette of the city’s historical peninsula.

Several city chambers, architects, and numerous citizens have said that the bridges trestles have been built in a way unlike the plans the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality released to the public.

“This is not the same project UNESCO approved. They built three trestles instead of two, which was the original plan. Probably the contractors realized that their original bridge would not be able to support the metro, and they changed the plans without informing the public,” Korhan Gümüş, an architect and director of urban implementations for the former European Capital of Culture Agency told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Gümüş also said that since the very beginning of the project, six years ago, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been misleading the public about the process.

“This is a lost cause, we all know. It’s too late to turn back now, but putting the blame only on the municipality is not right. UNESCO officials and we, the civil society, also failed to save Istanbul’s silhouette,” he said.

Instead of a suspension bridge, a low bridge could have been built, which would not have affected the historical peninsula’s silhouette, Gümüş said.

“This scandalous project should be a lesson for all of us not to repeat,” Gümüş said, adding that the responsible politicians should be exposed and pay a political price.

Mehmet Murat Çalık, vice president of the Istanbul Chamber of City Planners, also said the piers of the bridge are much higher than expected, and that this change is not even functional.

“There is a station in the middle of the bridge. Seriously, why? A bridge is used to travel from one side to the other. Why would anyone get off the train in the middle of a bridge?” Çalık said in a phone interview with Hürriyet Daily News Sept. 16.

Çalık also slammed the municipality’s administration for interpreting all the criticism during the process as “ideological,” and refusing to cooperate. “Our positive steps to become involved in the process for the sake of Istanbul were refused by the municipality as if we were against a metro bridge at all. All we tried to do was to inform them about the situation we all now face: a wall in the middle of the historical peninsula.”

Some inhabitants of the area shared the same opinion: University student Melek Cesur said the Golden Horn is already home to four bridges, and now a fifth is on the way.

“Why isn’t the municipality pouring concrete directly into the gulf? We could all walk on it. This new metro bridge is so huge that blocks our view of Sultanahmet from this side,” she said.