Turkish PM wants Eurasia tunnel ‘marvel’ finished ahead of deadline
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
PM Ahmet Davutoğlu and Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan want to see the light at the end of the Eurasia Tunnel before 2017. AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has convinced the contractors of a roadway tunnel connecting Istanbul’s two sides to speed up construction and complete the project earlier than planned, amid growing concerns over safety weaknesses in the sector.
Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel and roadway pass began construction January 2014 and was planned to be completed in August 2017. However, the construction will reportedly be completed by December 2016, following negotiations with the contractor company’s representatives.
“Completing the project in the shortest period of time, but in the safest way, will give us great happiness in terms of the reduction of time costs, as well as from a humanitarian perspective,” Davutoğlu said while visiting the project site on Sept. 13.
The repercussions of the elevator collapse that cost the lives of 10 workers at a central Istanbul construction site last weekend have shifted focus to the general safety problems in the sector.
Labor Minister Faruk Çelik, who has come under fire for government negligence regarding labor safety, acknowledged chronic problems in the sector and admitted companies sacrifice safety measures to reduce costs.
“There is pressure regarding costs. If you enslave people to make work cheaper, this understanding leaves safety as the second priority,” Çelik has said.
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu’s visit to the project, which he refers to as an “extraordinary engineering marvel,” came as the length of the constructed tunnel reached 920 meters.
The prime minister was proud to be personally visiting the project – the Eurasia Tunnel – which he said is of historical importance, not only for Istanbul and Turkey, but also for the world.
“An underwater pass at such a depth, pressure and intensity – to be completed in about four years – is an extraordinary engineering marvel that will not only provide comfort to our fellow citizens of Istanbul, but to all travelers from Asia to Europe and from Europe to Asia and humanity,” he said.
“This project will make important contributions to Istanbul’s natural and environmental security. I am sure it will take its place as a golden signature in the name of the state of the Republic of Turkey,” he added.
Davutoğlu said the 14.5-kilometer pass will be crossed by vehicles in less than 15 minutes thanks to the tunnel.
The depth of the tunnel reaches 106 meters underwater at some points, while the total length of the tunnel is 5.4 km and the length of the transit pass is 9.2 kilometers.
The Eurasia Tunnel is Turkey’s second underwater project in Istanbul after the Marmaray railway.