Learn more about Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus 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 1,560 m long with a deck width of 39 m. The distance between the towers (main span) is 1,074 m (World rank: 13th) 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 in the world when completed in 1973, and the longest outside the United States of America.
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 & 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.
 Current status
The highway bridge has three lanes for vehicular traffic plus one emergency lane and one sidewalk in each direction. 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 and 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 90cm in the middle of the span.
It is a toll bridge, and a toll plaza with 13 toll booths is situated near the bridge on the Asian side. A Toll is charged for passing from Europe to Asia, but not for passing in the reverse direction. Since 1999, some of the toll booths (#9 - #13), located to the far left as motorists approach them, are unmanned and equipped only with a remote payment system (Turkish: OGS) in order to speed up traffic. In addition to OGS, another toll pay system with special magnetic cards (Turkish: KGS) was put in service for use at specific toll booths in 2005. From April 03 2006, toll booths will accept only KGS and OGS. From this date on, cash payments will be accepted only at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, about five kilometres to the north. In 2006 the toll was 3.00 YTL or about $2.00.
 Other uses
The traditional international 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.
Jumping from the bridge is a rather common method to commit suicide. In 2001, 146 persons attempted to jump from the two Bosphorus bridges, and 24 of them lost their lives. In 2002, 38 persons died after 190 suicide attempts by jumping.
- 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 powerslide 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 Euros 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.
 Images of the Bosphorus Bridge
- Photos from Republic Day Celebrations on Bosphorus Bridge, October 29th 2006
 See also
- Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the second bridge over the Bosphorus
- Marmaray, the tunnel railway project under construction, the third transportation connection across the Bosphorus
 External links
- Wowturkey Bosphorus Bridge Photos
- Live traffic camera pictures
- Satellite image from Google