Traffic jam blocks Istanbul highways

Traffic jam blocks Istanbul highways

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Traffic jam blocks Istanbul highways

An accident on one of Istanbul’s main highways caused massive crisis. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

A truck accident on Istanbul’s TEM highway caused a massive traffic crisis in Istanbul yesterday. Although the truck was removed at 8:00 a.m., the traffic density did not ease, with a 16-kilometer long queue forming on the TEM highway.

With traffic density in mind, the Istanbul Governor’s Office has issued a statement saying that official working hours will be between 8:00 a.m. and 16:30 p.m., beginning on Oct. 30.

“In order to save daylight and decrease energy consumption, working hours in our province will be from 08:00-12:00 and 12:30-16.30, in light of the traffic density during rush hours,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, State Highways directorate Director-General Mehmet Cahit Turhan said that around 600,000 vehicles crossed Istanbul’s intercontinental Boğaziçi and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges every day, far exceeding the optimum recommended total of 250,000 vehicles.

“In Istanbul, the number of vehicles is increasing day by day and is about to reach 3 million. Everyday, 15 million people go into the traffic, including the transit passages, and the number is expected to reach 35 million by 2023. In Istanbul, where trade, daily trips and intercontinental passages are so busy, 87 percent of the urban transportation is provided by land transport,” Turhan told Anatolia news agency.

Turkey, which is on the international transportation passages, serves as a bridge for regional and intercontinental trade, Turhan said, adding that this contributed to the heavy traffic experienced in the city. “Istanbul is a natural capital that affects the neighboring cities and countries in all areas from finance to transportation, from global trade to social life. Istanbul is an important city for Asia, Europe and Africa ... The city now hosts 13 million people,” he said.

“Due to all its aspects, the current transportation systems bear a traffic burden above their capacities, especially in intercontinental passages,” Turhan said, adding that the two bridges over the Bosphorus were working 2.5 times over their maximum capacity. “Due to the queues on the bridges and the highways connecting the bridges, the average duration of time it takes to cross the Bosphorus has reached from 45 minutes to one hour,” he added.