Municipality presses remote control button on traffic chaos

Municipality presses remote control button on traffic chaos

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Municipality presses remote control button on traffic chaos

Thousands of drivers became stuck in a traffic jam on Istanbul’s FSM Bridge on July 11 after three additional lanes on the bridge were closed for maintenance works. Hürriyet photo

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the city’s Governor’s Office are moving ahead with an urgent action plan to combat traffic chaos on Fatih Sultan Mehmet (FSM) Bridge amid criticisms against Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who went on vacation as the thick traffic erupted following bridge-repair work.

According to the plan mobile kiosks and toilets will be established on bridges, despite the Ministry of Transportation’s previous proclamation that toilets would not be established on the bridge due to the narrowness of the road.

Measurements in the plan proposed that a maximum of six ticket booths be opened for vehicle passage and the number of the active lanes be re-considered in order to prevent crowds from collecting in front of ticket booths. Between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. intercity buses will also be allowed to pass over the Bosphorus Bridge while excavation trucks will be able to use only the FSM Bridge during those hours.

Bridge traffic will be monitored with an increase in traffic supervision staff and mobile units
during repair work. Vehicles such as ambulances, tow trucks and fire trucks will also be ready at the European and Asian entrances of the FSM Bridge.

Road conditions on the bridge will be monitored 24 hours a day under the new action plan and broadcasting organizations will be informed about the conditions. Vehicles crossing the bridge will be directed to more suitable routes if traffic appears congested.
Repair work will reportedly be accelerated with construction aimed to be completed by the scheduled time. Topbaş was expected to share the municipality’s studies on the traffic issue on July 16, however, given the recent traffic choking the bridge the new measurements will be immediately put into use.

Mayor on holiday

Topbaş was photographed dancing in the Black Sea province of Artvin while traffic chaos in the city continued to cause major headaches. The mayor had reportedly gone to Artvin, his hometown, to escape the stress of work.

“I try to come here every year,” Topbaş said. “The locals here are very kind and loving toward me. I thank them all.”

Many have reacted angrily to the photograph showing the mayor enjoying himself while problems continue back in Istanbul and criticized him for vacationing amid unsolved city problems.
Maintenance work began on the FSM Bridge June 18, closing down two of the bridge’s eight
lanes. Long traffic jams and hours spent commuting every day have become a daily routine for Istanbul residents ever since repair work began. The Directorate General for Highways closed down three additional lanes on the bridge on July 9, increasing drivers’ frustration. The repair work is slated to be finished by Sept. 17.