A new road tunnel linking Turkey’s west Black Sea
region and Central Anatolia opened on Dec. 26 in an official ceremony with the attendance of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
also attended the ceremony via a video link.
The Ilgaz Mountain project, consisting of two tunnels – one 5,370 meters long and the other 5,391 meters long – was constructed to connect two key regions. The tunnel is expected to significantly reduce traveling times on the Ilgaz Mountain motorway from 35 minutes to eight minutes, cutting the existing route by 5.4 kilometers.
“Turkey constructed 346 kilometers of tunnels in the last 14 years as well as up to 1,000 km of divided roads,” said Yıldırım in his speech, adding that these were achieved thanks to the support of the Turkish people.
“This tunnel will cherish the memory of our martyrs who lost their lives during the failed July 15 coup attempt,” he added.
Yıldırım earlier said he had hidden in the construction site of the Ilgaz Tunnel late on July 15 after the coup attempt began along with a group of officials and friends to wait for the situation to ease. The group later returned to the capital, Ankara.
“Thanks to this tunnel, it will be possible to traverse Ilgaz Mountain through an uninterrupted, safe and comfortable journey. I know that the Ilgaz pass is a nightmare especially during the winter season. This 17-kilometer passage was often closed and our citizens were victims. This passage can be negotiated in as little as eight minutes,” said Erdoğan, thanking officials, especially Yıldırım, for the project, which was completed in less than four years.
“We are progressing step by step in the direction of our 2023 target. With the transition to the European system of GDP calculation, it became clear that we were at a far more advanced level than many countries, from national income to growth,” he added.
Some 38.2 million Turkish Liras ($10.9 million) in savings are expected to be added to the country’s economy annually with 8.3 million liters of fuel saved and over 345,000 hours cut from journey times, according to Anadolu Agency.