35 million vehicles used Istanbul-İzmir highway

35 million vehicles used Istanbul-İzmir highway

35 million vehicles used Istanbul-İzmir highway

Some 35 million vehicles used the newly built Istanbul-İzmir highway in the last three years, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has said.

“For all the sections, in total 35 million vehicles passed the highway since the opening of the Osmangazi Bridge,” Turhan said on Sept. 15.

The Istanbul-İzmir highway project, which started in 2010, covers a total distance of 426 kilometers, including a 384-kilometer highway and 42 kilometers of the access road. The Osmangazi Bridge, a key plank of the project, was opened in 2016.

The construction of the last section was completed in July and opened to traffic in a ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 4.

Some 4.6 million vehicles used the highway in the last 40 days after all the sections were opened, Turan said.

The six-lane Istanbul-İzmir Highway has decreased the travel time between Istanbul and the Aegean province of İzmir from 8.5 hours to 3.5 hours, he added.

The toll road was projected to connect the Marmara region, which includes Istanbul, to the Aegean, western Mediterranean and western Anatolia regions.

The highway was built through a public private partnership (PPP) and was the first road project in Turkey to be procured under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. The project’s cost is estimated at $6.3 billion.