Bridge spanning Dardanelles Strait ready for launch

Bridge spanning Dardanelles Strait ready for launch

Bridge spanning Dardanelles Strait ready for launch

The Çanakkale 1915 Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge spanning the Dardanelles Strait in Turkey’s largest metropolis Istanbul, is finally ready to launch and open to traffic.

Following an official opening ceremony today, the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge in the Dardanelles Strait will be recognized as the longest suspension bridge in the world, with its main span of 2,023 meters, surpassing the Akashi Kaikyö Bridge in Japan by 32 meters.

The bridge connecting the northwestern province of Çanakkale’s Gelibolu district on the European side and the Lapseki district on the Anatolian side is slated for inauguration by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at 4 p.m. on March 18, which also marks the 107th anniversary of the Çanakkale Victory and Martyrs’ Day.

The construction of the bridge started on March 18, 2017, and today, after exactly five years of strenuous efforts of around 5,000 people who worked day and night to pull up the bridge, it will be finally open to traffic.

The bridge also has some encoded characteristics symbolizing some elements of Turkish history. The height of the bridge towers is 318 meters, indicating the “Day 18 of the third month.”

Above the towers, there are four monuments symbolizing huge cannonballs a Turkish soldier carried on his back amid the Gallipoli campaign in 1915.

The length of the bridge’s main span of the bridge is 2,023 meters, which is also a reference to the next year 2023, which marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

Also, with a total height of 318 meters, the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge has become the second tallest bridge, after Istanbul’s Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, and the third tallest structure in the country.

Speaking from a platform at the Gelibolu side, Erdoğan will address the nation and inaugurate the bridge, which will enable vehicle owners to cross it in just six minutes, from the Gelibolu side.

The bridge will also be a connection point of a 324-kilometer highway connecting Istanbul’s Silivri district to Balıkesir’s Savaştepe region.

“The bridge was constructed some one and a half years earlier than planned. This will ensure some 411 million euros to the country’s economy,” Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said on March 16.

“The bridge will rejuvenate tourism, agriculture and industry [in the country],” Bülent Turan, ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy chairperson, told daily Milliyet on March 17.

“Çanakkale will be the pearl of Turkish tourism,” said the politician who is also an MP from Çanakkale.

Tens of thousands of soldiers died in one of the world’s most fierce battles in the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.

The battle took place between April 25, 1915, and Jan. 9, 1916, with Turks repelling a naval attack of the invading forces.

Victory against allied forces boosted the morale of the Turkish side, which then went on to wage a War of Independence in 1919-1922, and eventually formed a republic in 1923 from the ashes of the old empire.