Ankara canvasses public opinion on new highway project connecting Istanbul to Aegean region
Fatma Aksu - ISTANBULThe Turkish government has started to canvass public opinion regarding a major new highway project connecting Istanbul to the northern Aegean region.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said yesterday that the foundation of the multibillion project will be laid on March 18, 2017, the anniversary of the 102nd anniversary of the Çanakkale Victory during World War I.
The toll fee for the bridge will be 15 euros plus value added tax, the prime minister told journalists, adding that the plan was to complete the project in 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of modern Turkey.
The Kınalı-Tekirdağ-Çanakkale-Savaştepe Highway is planned to connect Istanbul with the Aegean province of Balıkesir through a bridge over Çanakkale, which will be dubbed “Gallipoli (Çanakkale) 1915 Bridge” in honor of the Ottoman victory in the battle of Gallipoli.The highway section is expected to cost around 9.9 billion Turkish Liras ($3.2 billion) and the bridge is expected to cost around 15 billion liras ($5 billion), senior officials said, adding that the environmental impact assessment report of the project has already been accepted by the related commissions.
Citizens will now be able to submit their recommendations and views to the Istanbul Environment and Urban Affairs Directorate or the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.
The highway will be 324-km long in total, excluding the bridge, which will be built upon a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
Around 6.3 billion square meters of lands will be expropriated for the entire project. According to data in the project file, some 4.5 billion square meters of this area is composed of agricultural fields, 1.7 billion square meters is forested area, and 91 million square meters is pasture land. “The expropriation process may lead to some income losses among land owners, as their income sources will change. In this vein, they will be offered various business opportunities,” the project file stated, while noting that the project will increase land prices for affected areas.
Tender ‘to be launched soon’
Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan said a 3.6 km-long crossing tender for the bridge will be launched soon, daily Habertürk reported.
Arslan noted that Korean and Chinese companies have already shown interest in the $5 billion project.
Arslan had earlier said the project is planned to be comprised of 31 viaducts, five tunnels, 30 crossover roads, and 143 underpasses and overpasses in total.