The final nine metres of Istanbul's third bridge was linked this week, turning Selim Bridge into the third link joining the Asian and European continents
The bridge is part of a series of projects aimed at improving the infrastructure and and around the city, including a canal linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and an airport set to be one of the largest in the world. These mega projects have been championed by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who at a ceremony this week said the bridge linking Europe with Asia “will be our most important message to the world."
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu posted a picture of himself and Erdogan walking across the bridge, saying: "We link the continents not only with the third bridge, but also with our hearts.”
The bridge will open in August, and is tipped to provide some relief from traffic congestion in the city of 16 million people as well as being a critical part of the Northern Marmara Motorway, a planned 431 kilometre motorway around Istanbul’s northern sections that will significantly improve trade routes as well as reroute vehicles around the city, avoiding the congested centre.
At 60 metres wide and 2164 metres long, with eight lanes and two rail tracks, the bridge is the largest spanning the city’s central waterway and the largest rail suspension bridge. Construction began in 2013 and has been completed in record time, with more than 6000 of workers and engineers working around the clock.
The projects revolutionising Istanbul infrastructure
In a city growing by 100,000 new residents each year, authorities are working hard to keep pace with the expanding number vehicles on the road. These innovative projects, past and present, are helping change the face of city transport.
The Eurasia Tunnel, set to be completed in October, will connect Kazlicesme on Istanbul’s European side, and Goztepe on the Asian side, forming a 14km double-deck tunnel beneath the Bosphorus seabed. The route will shorten the journey time between the beginning and start point from 100 minutes to 15, and is expected to carry 130,000 vehicles daily.
The Marmaray tunnel, an underwater railway line, opened in 2013. The tunnel connects the two sides of the city and is still under construction, but the parts of the tunnel in operation allow rail commuters to cross from Asia to Istanbul in just four minutes.
This ambitious canal project comprises an artificial waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. The canal will bisect Istanbul’s European side, forming an island between the Asian and European sides. Kanal Istanbul aims to minimise shipping traffic in the Bosphorous Strait, thus cutting down on pollution. The canal will also be home to a number of luxury property developments and a new business centre. The project is tipped for completion in 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
Istanbul New Airport
The rising number of tourists travelling to Turkey by air has put a strain on Ataturk International, which is struggling under the weight of 56 million annual visitors. Istanbul New Airport is set to address the problems of added visitors and herald a new era of air travel, serving up to 200 million passengers every year. The first part of the airport is scheduled to open in less than two years.
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