The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has unanimously approved an underground tunnel project inspired by the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona, in a bid to ease congestion by taking 300,000 vehicles underground with its “dive in, dive out” model.
Most of the areas where the tunnels will be constructed are already built on, with some included in disaster risk areas and some within unplanned area borders. Parts of the Sarıyer-Kilyos section of the project, however, are under protection as natural areas. The municipality has not secured authorization from the regional Directorate of Forestry regarding construction in these areas, but the Directorate of Planning has deemed the construction “in line with public benefit.”
Speaking on behalf of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), municipality council member Gökhan Zeybek said Istanbul’s chronic transport problems could not be solved with alternative and expanded roads but through a better developed metro system.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member, Transportation and Traffic Commission head Mahmut Yeter, said the tunnels, the total length of which is expected to reach 23 kilometers, will cost 2.5 billion Turkish Liras.
The municipality last month approved another project for the construction of an underground tunnel between the Dolmabahçe and Fındıklı neighborhoods along the Bosphorus in central Istanbul.
According to the project, traffic will be taken underground on this route and a pedestrian concourse of 10,000 square meters will be built on the surface. The concourse will also include a transfer center building shaped like a seagull with open wings.