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News Release

Istanbul

Asia and Europe are Connected for the Third Time

Let's go back in time to take a glance at the development of Istanbul in company with the opening of Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge.


Let's go back in time to take a glance at the development of Istanbul in company with the opening of Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, which has globally assumed the title of “The longest suspension bridge with a railway system”, “The broadest suspension bridge” and “The suspension bridge with the tallest tower”.

If you think that the first bridge, connecting Europe and Asia over Bosphours, is “July 15th Martyrs’ Bridge” (formerly named as Bosphorus Bridge), you are totally wrong! Rumor has it that Darius I – the third king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire and one of the greatest emperors of the written history – got hundreds of ships/rafts laid and spliced together to cross the Bosphorus, and his regular army annexed Thrace and Macedonia during the Scythian Expedition in 5th century BC. In more recent times, it is known that Bethlehem Steel Company, which has a reputation for building symbolic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, had drawn a bridge plan by the contribution of Nuri Demirağ – one of the notable businessmen in the foundation period of the republic. However, the project hadn’t been viable due to conditions of the time. The comprehensive transportation infrastructure projects – including Golden Horn Bridge, E5 Highway, Bosphorus Bridge and necessary expropriation actions – connected two sides of the Bosphorus for the first time in 1973. Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge was constructed between Kavacık and Hisarüstü and became the second bridge on Bosphorus with its completion in 1988. 

Each bridge has surely affected the development of Istanbul in terms of geography and demography. A significant increase in Anatolian Side’s residents was recorded in the wake of Bosphorus Bridge, whilst a great majority of the pre-1973 population had lived in European Side of Istanbul. The construction phase of the second bridge was coinciding with a huge migration wave, and Anatolian Side’s population - previously concentrated on southwest coastal region - had shifted to northern part, where the axis of FSM Bridge and its access roads take place. Büyükdere Street, which is located between the access roads of bridges on the Bosphorus, has come into prominence within the context of prestige and accessibility and been regarded as the Central Business District (CBD) for the past 30 years. Likewise Levent, Maslak, Kavacık, Ataşehir, Ümraniye and Kozyatağı have become the most preferred office sub-markets by using bridges and their connection roads as an advantage factor. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, which has occupied the agenda since its plan was released to the public, is envisaged to make considerable contribution to the development journey of the city; at least as much as other bridges.

Addressing the Northern Marmara Motorway’s and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge’s technical attributes would be beneficial before mentioning the effects of the bridge that was built between Garipçe and Riva and joins two sides of the Bosphorus for the third time by opening on August 26th 2016. The Northern Marmara Motorway mainly consists of three sections: 88 km Kınalı-Odayeri on the European Side and 169 km Kurtköy- Akyazı on the Asian side whose auction processes were completed last May in addition to 95 km Odayeri- Kurtköy, which includes Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. Odayeri-Kurtköy Highway, which was brought into service for all residents and transit passengers by the opening of the bridge, is linked to the 3rd Airport via TEM connection in Mahmutbey. The heart of the project; Odayeri-Paşaköy section contains the bridge and connects to FSM Bridge via linking road between Çamlık and Reşadiye. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge including railway system with the main span of 1,408 m (8 lane highways and 2 lane railways), has globally assumed the title of “the suspension bridge with the tallest tower” (322 m). The bridge is also the broadest bridge (59 m) on the world and has the precedence among its counterparts thanks to its hybrid systems, combining cable-stayed orthotropic bridge and suspension bridge. 

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge is expected to be a remedy for traffic congestion on each bridge in consideration of annual average daily traffic statistics of bridges, connecting Europe and Asia. While circa 190,000 cars daily pass through July 15th Martyrs’ Bridge, FSM Bridge hosts approximately 196,000 heavy and light vehicles in a day. High traffic density - on TEM highway, in particular - is estimated to decrease obviously in view of the fact that trailer trucks, intercity buses and other heavy vehicles (daily average is 60,000 on existing bridges) will mandatorily use Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. Although Jean Baptiste Say’s Law – associated with "Supply creates its own demand" quote – supports “Each new bridge will surely enhance the car demand and motoring” standpoint, it should not be ruled out that the third bridge will lessen the burden on other highways’ and bridges’ particularly in the short term. 

Along with the Northern Marmara Motorway, completion of the 3rd Airport is expected to have significant impact on Istanbul logistics and industry sector, at first. Industrial hubs are already in the process of shifting to outskirts of the city due to urban regeneration initiatives, and therefore such infrastructure projects will accelerate this relocation process. Kınalı-Çatalca in European Side and Dilovası-Akyazı in Asian Side are currently promising regions in terms of low logistics land prices. These regions would be logistics centres unless their land costs increase overmuch in this period. Gas stations and roadhouses, which provide service to daily guests along the highway, will make a significant contribution to the retail texture of the region. Besides, low density housing zones would reasonably be anticipated to emerge on lands with zoning around the highway and connection roads due to the existence of extensive forestry area and fresh-water basins throughout the region. Apart from compulsory usage of intercity buses, the bridge will include a high-speed intercity train route. While shifting intercity passengers to the bridge will ease urban traffic, “pocket bus terminals” – its archetype was constructed in Alibeyköy – will probably be brought to agenda for the axis of the Northern Marmara Motorway along with some other regions in Istanbul. On the other hand, new probable public transportation networks, which will tie new residential zones, pocket bus terminals and high-speed train stations to the city centre, will increase the number of same-day visitor due to advance accessibility of the region. In the long term, demand for larger-scale retail spaces can come into question after the identification of the region’s population potential on the back of emerging housing units. 

Eurasia Tunnel will continue to bring two sides of Istanbul together under the Marmara Sea with planned opening in December aside from highly demanded metro tunnel Marmaray and all bridges, which act leading roles on the city’s story. Without a doubt, the Bosphorus had brought considerable revenue to administrator states by toll from ships for centuries, and will continue maintaining its strategic importance. Aside from Russia – reaches the Arctic Ocean with the Barents Sea and the Atlantic Ocean by the Baltic Sea - countries that have coastline on the Black Sea such as Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia can only reach the Mediterranean Sea and the global shipping trade network through the Bosphorus.