New concrete steps are being taken for the new mega project in Istanbul. The preparation and engineering projects for the Three-Level Big Istanbul Tunnel are to be auctioned on Dec. 14 by the infrastructural investments directorate of the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communication. After the completion of the auctioning process, the engineering projects of the Three-Level Big Istanbul Tunnel will be completed within one year.
The Three-Level Big Istanbul Tunnel was one of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's most important election promises as the government seeks to find a solution to Istanbul's traffic problems. With the outcome of the Nov. 1 elections, which saw the Justice and Development party win with nearly 50 percent of the vote, the implementation of the mega projects has gained momentum.
As one of these mega projects, the Three-Level Big Istanbul Tunnel will be the first three-level tunnel in the world and will consist of both a metro line and dual motorway. The fast metro line will enable a 40-minute commute from İncirli to Söğütlüçeşme and a 14-minute commute by car from the Hasdal intersection to the Ümraniye Çamlık intersection. The project is included in the 2023 Transportation Projection, an initiative to reduce Istanbul's traffic woes. This project combined the "fast metro tunnel project," which will start from Bakırköy-İncirli along the E-5 highway and reach Söğütlüçeşme, similar to the Marmaray and the "highway tunnel" with 2x2 lanes, in order to relieve the traffic on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the second bridge on the Bosporus. Instead of separate tunnels, a single tunnel will be built for both the metro and a dual highway Bosporus crossing.
The tunnel will enable faster and cheaper transportation between the two sides of Istanbul. It will integrate nine different urban train systems with a fast metro track, which is used by approximately 6.5 million passengers on a daily basis. It will also enable easier and faster connections to ring roads; thus connecting all main arterial roads.
The tunnel will integrate local metro lines including the Başakşehir-Bağcılar-Bakırköy Metro, the Yenikapı-Aksaray-Airport Metro, the Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram, the Topkapı-Sultançifliği Light Metro, the Mahmutbey-Mecidiyeköy Metro, the Yenikapı-Hacıosman Metro (Taksim Metro), the Üsküdar-Ümraniye-Çekmeköy-Sancaktepe Metro, the Kadıköy-Kartal Metro, also known as the Marmaray, Istanbul's first sub-sea tunnel train under the Bosporus, and suburban train lines.
The highways will connect the third airport, currently under construction, and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third bridge on the Bosporus (also under construction), to the North Marmara Highway, TEM and D100 (E-5) Highway.
Lastly, the project is designed to leave residential areas undisturbed and support the TEM axis so as to avoid an urban eye-sore that would ruin the city's skyline.