The past two weeks have turned out to be tough ones for most İstanbul commuters, with traffic jams stretching for kilometers in various parts of the city because of renovations to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet (FSM) and Haliç bridges.
Three lanes on the FSM Bridge, one of the two bridges linking the Asian and European continents in İstanbul, were closed to traffic on June 18, which marked the start of a three-month period of renovation on the bridge. Renovation also started on the Haliç Bridge. Officials have urged people to use public transport instead of private vehicles, unless absolutely necessary, while work is under way. However, long queues have continued to build up in different parts of İstanbul, particularly during rush hour.
Hundreds of drivers were also stuck in the congestion on the FSM Bridge in the summer heat for hours. Vehicles were crossing the bridge at speeds as low as one kilometer per hour in oppressive temperatures. Some drivers tried to stay cool by opening the doors of their cars. The İstanbul-based International Transporters Association (UND) recently released a statement recommending transporting goods by ship from one continent to the other as the traffic on the FSM Bridge causes delays in delivering ordered purchases.
The asphalt maintenance and renewal work on the FSM Bridge will be carried out between June 18 and Sept. 17. Since the Metrobus does not go over the FSM Bridge, Metrobus service will be unaffected by the lane closures. The renovation is being done during the summer months because fewer cars cross the bridge at this time. 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.