A new airport set to be constructed in Istanbul is meeting some resistance from geological experts — mostly because it’s built on a swamp.
The airport, which Istanbul Transport, Maritime and Communication Minister Lütfi Elvan is calling the “Hub of the World” is a massive undertaking that will fill a field the size of 15,000 soccer fields — and hopefully provide 120,000 jobs by the time it’s completed in 2018.
The problem is that the airport’s proposed location is on land that’s 75% marsh. The Chamber of Geology Engineers warned at the beginning of the project that the ground in the area might not be ideal for an airport.
Last month, Elvan replied to these criticisms during his onsite examination of the airport. He acknowledged that much of the current ground is marsh and that project members are currently collaborating with “world-renowned operations” to come up with soil stabilization and foundation solutions that will mitigate the risk of building on a swamp.
Drilling and soil surveys are currently underway at the construction site. “We are aware that the grounds are marsh, and everyone is working on tests and analyses,” said Elvan. “We have the requisite technology.”
Elvan proceeded to call the warnings of the Chamber of Geology Engineers unscientific and unnecessary, since project leaders are already doing everything they can to ensure the ground is safe before construction work commences.
Environmental groups have also expressed concern that 85% of the new airport will cover a previously protected forest zone. Elvan claims that the airport will work to obtain all required international certificates to prove that the project is environmentally sound.
“They should stop politicizing the issue,” Elvan said. “Experts are examining the ground. We have all technical possibilities with us. An expert has been conducting the drilling and investigations by the temporary permission of the general directorate of forestry.”
Elvan doesn’t expect the marsh conditions to cause any delays. Over 150 airlines are expected to use the new airport in Istanbul.