Groundbreaking ceremony for 3rd Bosphorus bridge on May 29

09:36 30.05.2013

A groundbreaking ceremony for Istanbul’s controversial third bridge was held on May 29, on the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans, with the attendance of Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The construction of Istanbul’s third bridge on the Bosporus was tendered for last year as part of the north Marmara motorway project’s Odayeri-Paşaköy section. The tender was then awarded to a consortium consisting of the Turkish IC İçtaş and the Italian Astaldi that submitted the bid with the shortest term of construction and operation, 10 years two months and 20 days.

The bridge is to be constructed under a build-operate-transfer model, in which private companies build the bridge and will have the right to collect tolls from vehicles using the bridge for a period of time before handing the bridge over to the state.

The consortium is expected to complete the construction of the bridge in 36 months, at a total cost of about $4.5 billion, after the contract is signed. «The bridge should be ready for use by the end of 2015,» Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım had said earlier.

According to the Turkish Transport Ministry, the new six-lane bridge, which is expected to be about 1.3 km in length, will be built to the north of the two existing ones, between the Garipçe district on the European side and the Poyrazköy district on the Asian side. Unlike the two existing bridges, which only carry road vehicles, the new bridge will also include rail tracks.

Seven Turkish banks had agreed on supplying a total of $2.4 billion for 10 years of funding, İbrahim Çeçen, chairman of the IC İçtaş company that was part of the winning consortium, announced on May 2013.

Drilling on the construction of the bridge is ongoing right now. General Directorate of Highways (KGM) General Manager Mehmet Cahit Turhan said this week that the third bridge on the Bosporus would be much stronger than the existing two bridges. «The consortium agreed Korean Hyundai and SK to build its lateral towers, aprons and suspension cables. Now the Koreans are at work,» added Turhan.

Many have expressed worries that the construction of the third bridge will lead to the destruction of Istanbul's remaining green areas near the Black Sea coast while creating new traffic headaches.

Adapted from Hurriyet