Renovation of Bosphorus bridge brings questions

Renovation of Bosphorus bridge brings questions

Renovation of Bosphorus bridge brings questions

The Bosphorus Bridge, completed in 1973, is one of the two bridges in Istanbul, spanning the Bosphorus strait and thus connecting Europe and Asia continents. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Recent suggestions that Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge may undergo a yearlong renovation drew strong reactions from construction engineers and city planners, who said such renovations should be made continuously through regular inspections.

“If the Bosphorus Bridge has a flaw the Ministry of Transportation must make it public and search for solutions in alternative ways. Putting the bridge on hold for one year is the worst and most unnecessary solution,” said Semih Tezcan, professor of civil engineering at Boğaziçi University.

Tezcan was head of the committee that examined the Bosphorus Bridge in 1973 under the name of the Ministry of Public Works. He said even closing one single lane for maintenance was not necessary.

“Renovations have been made for 40 years already. Two years ago they came up with the same suggestion for maintenance after storms hit the bridge. I also opposed that decision, and later they gave way,” Tezcan said.

Tezcan also drew attention to the planned third bridge, saying it will be an environmental disaster. If the claims are true, the government is looking for an excuse to build the third bridge, he said.

“A sub-sea tunnel connecting the district of Söğütlüçeşme with 4 Levent could be a sustainable solution. The total cost would be one fourth of the planned bridge, and more people will be carried,” Tezcan added.

Vice-President of the Istanbul Chamber of City Planners Mehmet Murat Çalık said the bridge’s lifetime was limited, but if the E-5 highway and the bridge were disconnected it would lead to chaos.

“The suggested project is not realistic. Bridges are fixed from time to time, but I do not think it is necessary to close it for such a long period. If the bridge is closed people will have to drive 60 to 70 km more. Our suggestion is to integrate the railway with existing bridges for mass transportation,” he said.

Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge is set to undergo heavy maintenance work that is due once every 40 years, a Turkish daily reported Jan. 20, while also saying the steel cables that connect the suspension bridge to two giant pillars also need to be entirely replaced.

Sources from the Ministry of Transportation have indicated the cables definitely have to be replaced every 30 to 40 years, according to the report. That deadline is set to expire in 2013, as the Bosphorus Bridge entered into service in 1973. Officials from the Transportation Ministry told Hürriyet Daily News they will announce the details soon.

The maintenance work, which also includes reinforcing the bridge against earthquakes, can be delayed for two more years at most after 2013, according to reports. If the bridge were shut down for an entire year the maintenance work that would be necessary is expected to cost around $200 million.

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