Don’t worry, we’ll build another bridge
The new bridge which was inaugurated to be the remedy of Istanbul’s never-ending and never-to-end traffic problem has produced its own issues.
According to Burak Coşan’s story in daily Hürriyet titled “Mahmutbey bottleneck,” the residents of six districts or big neighborhoods are protesting because their traffic flow has been jammed by the third bridge, whose access roads are still incomplete: Avcılar, Halkalı, Beylikdüzü, Ispartakule, Esenyurt and Bahçeşehir.
In a rough calculation, more than 2.5 million people are now suffering from a worse-than-ever traffic jam compared to the times before the third bridge. Their traffic problems will be solved and they will be happy and comfortable after the access roads are competed at the end of 2018, they may be told, but would they believe it themselves? I don’t know.
When the current issue is scrutinized, one notices a gigantic lack of planning after you scratch beneath the shiny surface of long-sightedness and vision surplus.
A small example: Before the new bridge was opened, heavy tonnage vehicles were allowed to pass through the Mahmutbey toll booths only at certain hours. Now, they are trying to pass 7/24; they are piled into just one lane – the traffic has almost stopped.
Residents of Istanbul can only proceed 15 kilometers in 90 minutes, reports say. One report says this traffic jam causes a loss of only 5.5 billion Turkish Liras, meaning five full tanks of fuel per each vehicle are wasted.
The wasted fuel pollutes the air; the trees that would have cleaned the polluted air have already been cut for the bridge and its access roads. This scene is an insane one, a vicious cycle that blows your mind.
For instance, we cannot develop our naval transportation. We are occupying the shores of the Bosphorus with a giant meeting square that stands vacant 363 days of the year, a pier shaped like a seagull, with close parking lots and other rubbish projects…
Experts advise that new settlements and construction projects should be avoided near roads, bridges and viaducts – as if anybody is going to listen to them.
You may have noticed that as soon as the new bridge was opened, a forest fire erupted in Sarıyer Garipçe near the European leg of the new bridge. Why, I wonder, would a forest fire break out? How strange?
An investigation into the cause of the fire was ongoing, the paper said. My dear handsome, well-dressed bureaucrats, don’t waste your time, I can tell you why. They are about to build a residential site over there, right where that fire was.
Now let’s go back to the effects of the new bridge on people (except for taking selfies).
A driver was almost crying on TV news: “As you can see, the bridge charges 138 liras. I have been waiting in the queue for four hours. After these four hours this fee is charged. It used to be only 65 liras to and from the second bridge. My motor has been on for hours. If I return in the evening it will cost me 200 liras and so many extra hours.”
Another one said, “Broadcast this disgrace. We have been at the democracy watch all together with our children. Why are they opening these roads without the approach roads completed? Build them all and then open it, right? What do we have to do all the way in Ömerli? Do we have to drive five hours there and five hours back? We do this because we have to. What about those who drive only to take selfies?”
Don’t worry my dear drivers and dear citizens, we will build another bridge to solve this problem.