Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel set to open on Dec 20 in official ceremony
ISTANBULAn underwater tunnel that will considerably shorten the duration of travel for vehicles from Istanbul’s Asian side to the European side is slated to open on Dec. 20 in an official ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
The 3.34-km-long tunnel crossing under the sea, which is also dubbed as the “Istanbul Straight Road Crossing Project,” will connect the two continents for a second time under the water. The total distance of the tunnel will be 5.4 kilometers, 3.34 kilometers of which will be under the sea. Together with access roads, the Eurasia Tunnel Project’s total distance will be 14.6 kilometers. At its deepest point, the tunnel will be 106.4 meters below the surface of the Bosphorus Strait.
The tunnel, linking Kazlıçeşme on Istanbul’s European side and Göztepe in Asia, aims to reduce chronic traffic congestion in Turkey’s most populous city.
With the new tunnel, the travel time between the areas by car will decrease from around 100 minutes at present during rush hour to just 15. This will make a positive contribution to the economy by decreasing fuel consumption amounts as well as carbon emission amounts, according to those leading the project.
The project is being constructed using a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model that will ultimately cost $1.2 billion. Some 960 million of the amount was provided through international loans, while the remaining amount was financed by the project holders, Yapı Merkezi and SK E&K.
According to international standardization reports, the tunnel can last up to at least 127 years.
The project was contracted in 2009 through a joint Turkish-Korean venture later named Eurasia Tunnel Operation Construction and Investment (ATAS). After the completion of the project, the company will run the tunnel for the next 24 years and five months, when the tunnel’s operational rights will be transferred to the state.
Designed for light vehicles, tolls of around $4 for cars and $6 for minibuses are expected to be levied.