A third lane will be closed off to the traffic on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet (FSM) Bridge, one of the two bridges linking the Asian and European continents in İstanbul, on July 25.
The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality will also be opening a new ferry route between Küçüksu and İstinye so as to prevent further traffic congestion on the bridge. The other remaining lanes on the bridge will remain open.
The Municipality announced that it will also provide extra bus services and car-carrying ferries, provided by İstanbul Ferry Lines (İDO). Maintenance and repairs on the FSM Bridge is being carried out between June 18 and Sept. 17.
The maintenance work is being done during the summer months as fewer cars cross the bridge at this time of the year. Approximately 250,000 cars cross the FSM Bridge every day during the winter, whereas this number drops to around 80,000-90,000 in the summer months. Maintenance work has also started on the Haliç Bridge.
In order to alleviate traffic, the state-owned İDO has staring offering a 24-hour car ferry service. The company announced that car ferries would run between Harem and Sirkeci 24 hours a day as of 6 a.m. on July 13. Experts have harshly criticized the municipality for poorly planning and carrying out maintenance on the bridge and for not adequately informing the public of alternative routes created to avert traffic jams on the bridge.