İstanbulites had already been experiencing traffic problems with the closure of two lanes of the FSM Bridge on June 18, the start of a three-month period of renovation on the bridge.
However, this problem turned to disaster with the closure of one more lane. The closure of the three lanes led to heavy traffic congestion, meaning that hundreds of drivers were stuck on the FSM Bridge in the summer heat. Vehicles waited on the bridge for more than five hours in oppressive temperatures and some drivers had to spend the night in their vehicles.
The asphalt maintenance and renewal work on the FSM Bridge is being carried out between June 18 and Sept. 17. 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. Renovation work has also started on the Haliç Bridge.
In order to alleviate the traffic problem, the state-owned İstanbul Ferry Lines (İDO) have decided to run car ferries with a 24-hour service. Car ferries running between Harem and Sirkeci were announced to start serving İstanbulites 24 hours a day as of 6 a.m. on July 13. Experts have harshly criticized the municipality by saying that the renovation is being conducted unplanned, and because people have not been informed about the alternative routes created, they flood the bridges to cross to the other side.