Published on November 4th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown3
1st Railway Tunnel To Join Two Continents Officially Opened, But There Are Concerns…
To clarify, this railway is under water and can be flooded if the structure fails. However, the Turkish government insists that it is very safely built.
Oddly, this railway tunnel was inaugurated a bit early, as it isn’t quite complete. And that lack of completion apparently has some people concerned. (Note: the tunnel was opened on Turkey’s 90th birthday.)
“Officials cut the ribbon on a $4 billion, 8.5-mile rail tunnel that runs almost 200 feet below the Bosporus seabed, part of a broader project called the Marmaray meant to bind Europe and Asia closer together, ease congestion in [Istanbul] and, in more grandiose visions, eventually form part of a trade route between Europe and China,” report Ceylan Yeginsu and Alan Cowell of the New York Times (h/t Planetizen).
“The biggest issues seem to be that the tunnel still lacks an electronic security system and that it could flood,” explain Yeginsu and Cowell. “Suleyman Solmaz, a senior figure at the Chamber of Architects and Engineers, said ‘it would be murder to open it under these conditions,’ and added that an engineer on the project told him he would not dare ride through the tunnel until those issues were addressed.”
“The part that is in service is very limited. All that has been delayed until much later,” said Tayfun Kahraman, president of the Istanbul Chamber of Urban Planners.
On a positive note, the Bosphorous tunnel links the Asian and European continents, and can also provide some relief to the two badly congested bridges above water.
One benefit of such a railway over a third bridge is that railways have the potential to achieve better throughput, due to the fact that they transport more people for their size than cars do, and they can also achieve a higher velocity than a line of cars on a bridge could (you know how slow traffic is).