Tuesday, May 23, 2017

15 JULY MARTYRS BRIDGE

Bosphorus, İstanbul - Turkey

Bosphorus Bridge / Istanbul photo bosphorus_bridge112.jpg

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The 15 July Martyrs Bridge, also called the First Bosphorus Bridge (Turkish: Boğaziçi Köprüsü or 1. Boğaziçi Köprüsü) is a bridge in Istanbul, Turkey spanning the Bosphorus strait (Turkish: Boğaziçi). The bridge is located between Ortaköy (European side) and Beylerbeyi (Asian side). It is a gravity anchored suspension bridge with steel pylons and inclined hangers.

The aerodynamic deck is hanging on zigzag steel cables. It is 1,510 m long with a deck width of 39 m. The distance between the towers (main span) is 1,074 m (World rank: 15th) and their height over road level is 105 m. The clearance of the bridge from sea level is 64 m. It was the 4th longest suspension bridge span in the world when completed in 1973, and the longest outside the United States of America.

History
The decision to build a bridge across the Bosphorus was taken in 1957 by Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. For the structural engineering work, a contract was signed with the British firm Freeman Fox and Partners in 1968. The bridge was designed by the famous British civil engineer Sir Gilbert Roberts who also designed the Humber Bridge, Severn Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Volta River Bridge.

The construction started in February 1970, the ceremonies were attended by President Cevdet Sunay and Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel. The construction was carried out by the Turkish firm Enka Construction & Industry Co. along with the co-contractors Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Co. Ltd. (England) and Hochtief AG (Germany). 35 engineers and 400 men worked on the project.

It was completed on October 30, 1973, one day after the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, and opened by President Fahri Korutürk and Prime Minister Naim Talu. Ernest Frederick, a civil engineer working for the US government and stationed in Turkey at the time, was the first American to cross the bridge. American comedian and Ambassador for UNICEF Danny Kaye, dressed like a clown, followed him with a pack of Turkish children. As a huge crowd of people started to run after them, the bridge began to vibrate, and the crowd had to be held back to avoid any damage. The cost of the bridge amounted to USD 200 million.

Transportation
The highway bridge has a total width of eight lanes. Each direction has three lanes for vehicular traffic plus one emergency lane and one sidewalk. On weekday mornings, commuter traffic flows mostly westbound to the European part, so four of the six lanes run westbound and only two eastbound. Conversely, on weekday evenings, four lanes are dedicated to eastbound traffic and two lanes only to westbound. In the first four years, pedestrians could walk over the bridge, reaching it with elevators inside the towers on both sides.

No pedestrians or commercial vehicles like trucks are allowed to use the bridge today. Nowadays, around 180,000 vehicles pass daily in both directions, almost 85% being automobiles. On December 29, 1997, the one-billionth vehicle passed the bridge. Fully loaded, the bridge sags about 90 cm in the middle of the span.

Other uses
The Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, organized annually in October, starts from the Anatolian part of Istanbul, crosses the Bosphorus on the bridge and ends in the European part during which the bridge is closed to the vehicular traffic. Visitors to Istanbul in October can sign up for the 'fun run' at many points round the city and take the opportunity to cross the bridge by foot - many take picnics to enjoy the view. On a merrier point of view, it is a popular belief that a wish made while going under the bridge will come true.

Trivia
On May 15, 2005 at 7.00 local time, U.S. tennis star Venus Williams played a show game with Turkish standout İpek Şenoğlu on the bridge, the first tennis match ever to be played on two continents. The event was organized as a promotion ahead of the 2005 WTA’s Istanbul Cup and lasted five minutes only on the north side of the bridge. After the exhibition, they both threw a tennis ball into the Bosphorus.

On July 17, 2005 at 10:30 local time, British Formula One driver David Coulthard drove his Red Bull racing car on the bridge first from the European side to the Asian side, and then turning with a spectacular power slide at the toll plaza back to the European side for show. He parked his car in the garden of Dolmabahçe Palace where his ride had started.

During his ride to the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Racing Circuit on August 21, 2005, David Coulthard was picked up by the automatic surveillance system and charged with a fine of 20 Euro when he passed through the toll booths without payment, as only the president, traffic police and emergency workers have the right to cross the bridge for nothing. His team accepted to pay for him. Since April 23, 2007, a fully computerized LED lighting system of changing colours illuminates the bridge at night.

On 15 July 2016, the bridge was blocked by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces during a coup attempt.[19] The soldiers involved surrendered to police the next day. On 25 July 2016, prime minister Binali Yıldırım announced that the bridge would be renamed as the 15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü (July 15 Martyrs Bridge).

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