Dardanelles Bridge Construction to Begin
The foundations of the towers for Turkey’s new 1915 Canakkale Bridge were laid last month, marking the beginning of construction of the world’s longest suspension bridge after 2.3 billion euros ($2.83 billion) of financing was secured for the project.
The bridge, set to span the Dardanelles, will have a 2,023-meter-long (over 6,600-foot-long) main span, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the foundation of modern Turkey.
On a similar historical note, the 1915 Canakkale Bridge and Highway project was named to mark a major Turkish victory against British and other allied forces during World War I.
The bridge is reportedly being built via the build-operate-transfer model, in which private companies are contracted to build a structure and operate it for a set period of time, using profits from tolls or other revenues to recoup costs incurred in building and maintaining the structure.
The Dardanelles Strait is a difficult area for ships to contend with; the new bridge will provide a solution, noted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Consultant COWI A/S (Copenhagen) is designing the crossing with side-by-side twin steel box girder decks separated by a space for aerodynamic stability.
According to Engineering News-Record, the Turkish government awarded the contract in January last year to a consortium composed of South Korea’s Daelim and SK E&C and local Limak and Yapi Merkezi, with Japan’s Itochu and IHI consortium following close behind.
Building For the Future
Close to 70 percent of the financing for the bridge was secured from foreign institutions. As it stands, the loan will be paid in 15 years with a five-year grace period, and was secured from 24 banks and institutions.
“The Canakkale Bridge is the best answer to those who claim that the Turkish economy is facing problems,” said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
At the ceremony for the establishment of the bridge tower foundations, Erdogan noted that the “agreement had set the date for the completion of the bridge for the end of 2023. We, however, have had talks and as a result of those talks we agreed that the bridge will be in service 18 months earlier than initially projected.”