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Turkey building world's longest suspension bridge




Linking Asia and Europe across the Dardanelles, the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge will span 2023 metres. 2023 like the centenary year of the Turkish Republic and the year the bridge is due to enter service.



The  Çanakkale 1915 Bridge will link Asia and Europe (map and photo : SK)
The Çanakkale 1915 Bridge will link Asia and Europe (map and photo : SK)
TURKEY. An investment of 10 billion Turkish Pounds ($2.76bn or €2.56bn), a span of 2023 metres... the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge, the bridge of superlatives linking Asia with Europe, entered its construction phase on Saturday 18th March, 2017.
 
The foundation stone-laying ceremony was held in the presence of the Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim, the Turkish Minister of Transport, Ahmet Arslan, and the Korean Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Kang Ho-in. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who took part via video conference, announced it would be "the best bridge in the world". The number of dignitaries present underlined the importance of this suspension bridge, which will span the Dardanelles Strait (the Hellespont of Ancient Greece), linking the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara in north-eastern Turkey. It will become the suspension bridge with the longest central span in the world, overtaking Japan's Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and its "mere" 1991 metres between main pillars. The length of 2023 metres is not a random figure. It is a symbol referring to two important events: the year the bridge is due to enter service and the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The Çanakkale 1915 Bridge – Çanakkale is the Turkish name for the Dardanelles- takes its name from the eponymous 1915 battle won by the Ottomans against British Commonwealth and French forces during the First World War. It is part of an even more vast project that includes a new 100-km stretch of motorway between Çanakkale and Malkara and continues President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's programme of major constructions that has already seen the completion of the Bosphorus Tunnel, opened in December, 2016, and the third Bosphorus crossing (the Yavuz Sultan Seltim) in Istanbul to name just two.

13 financial institutions interested in the project

The build-operate-transfer contract was awarded to a consortium that includes the Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Limak associated with the South Koreans SK E&C and Daelim, each company having a 25% share in the project. The four will operate the bridge for a period of 16 years, two months and twelve days –the shortest period proposed in the tenders- before the bridge is handed over to the Turkish state.

"Thirteen financial institutions have already submitted letters of intent for the financing of the project," said Ahmet Arslan on 10th February, 2017. These are thought to include Bankası, QNB Finansbank, Garanti Bankası, DenizBank, Yapı Kredi Bankası, K-Sure (Korea Trade Insurance Corporation), K-Exim (the Korean Export-Import Bank), the EBRD, ICBC Turkey Bank, KEB Hana Bank, Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank.

The suspension bridge, the fifth in the Sea of Marmara region, will feature six traffic lanes, three in each direction and will reduce the Çanakkale crossing time to four minutes against 45 minutes today.


Frédéric Dubessy


Thursday, March 30th 2017



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