As a metropolis of more than 12 million people, Istanbul has been suffering from ever-growing traffic problems for the last few years. In an effort to eliminate these problems, the Turkish government has planned to build a third bridge over the Bosphorus. It is planned to be built further to the north of the city and it would destroy the greenbelt land. The bridge would lead to adverse effects for the city, for different reasons.
Firstly, the planned bridge is said to by-pass the city; which means, it would destroy the cherished waterway and one of the city’s few remaining forests. It is estimated that, 2 million trees would be cut. Inevitably, it will destroy wildlife habitat, ruin water resources, and moreover, it will poison the city’s air. Even now, because of its high population rates, the city’s water resources are not enough. If the project is applied, it will ruin some of these limited water resources. It would have an irreversible effect on the forestlands which serve as the city’s lungs, providing respite to urban dwellers.
Secondly, if the bridge is constructed, it would turn the rural farming areas into real estates. This transformation would reduce the much-needed agricultural land production of the city. As a metropolis, Istanbul needs more and more agricultural products each day. The need for food cannot be disregarded; therefore, the government should take this kind of possible problems into consideration before deciding to build a bridge.
On the other hand, the opponents of the third bridge, especially the officials, say the bridge is necessary to ease traffic congestion in the rapidly growing city. They believe that it will reduce the travel time and increase the quality of travel over the straits between Asia and Europe. However, it would actually lead to more private cars on the roads; which means, more traffic load. The third bridge is not a good solution; because, the traffic growth will increase more and more in the next few decades, and consequently, more and more bridges will be needed. It is a vicious cycle; therefore, different solutions have to be found for the traffic problem of İstanbul.
To conclude, if better alternatives are not found, Istanbul will need not only one but many more additional bridges. The planned third bridge will just aggravate the problem. Therefore, alternative solutions such as the improvement of rail roads and ferry transportation could be better solutions to ease the traffic problem
Tuba DOĞAN ADV-C; April 2012