'Sultan Selim Bridge' to be called ‘3rd Bridge’: Consortium head

'Sultan Selim Bridge' to be called ‘3rd Bridge’: Consortium head

Güneş Kömürcüler ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Sultan Selim Bridge to be called ‘3rd Bridge’: Consortium head

The bridge will have eight road lanes as well as two rail tracks. The third bridge is expected to be about 1.4 kilometers in length and 59 meters in width.

While tensions had arisen following the naming of the planned third Bosphorus bridge after Yavuz Sultan Selim, known as "Selim the Grim," one of the most notorious sultans in Ottoman history, the head of the consortium that will build and operate the bridge has played down the tensions.
“Most of us will call the bridge the third bridge, not the ‘Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge,’ just as we call the second bridge on the Bosphorus ‘the second bridge,’ and not the ‘Mehmet the Conqueror Bridge’,” İbrahim Çeçen, chairman of the Turkish firm IC İçtaş, which will build and operate the third bridge on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, with the Italian company Astaldi, told the economy press last week.

Istanbul’s second bridge on the Bosphorus was named after Fatih Sultan Mehmet, known as Mehmet the Conqueror, the Ottoman sultan who conquered the city from the Byzantines on May 29, 1453.

The construction of Istanbul’s third bridge over the Bosphorus was tendered last year as part of the north Marmara motorway project’s Odayeri-Paşaköy section. The tender was then awarded to IC İçtaş and Astaldi for the construction and operation of the bridge for the next 10 years, two months and 20 days.

Environmental issues top agenda

Many have expressed concern that the construction of the third bridge will lead to the destruction of Istanbul’s remaining green areas near the Black Sea coast, while creating new traffic headaches. “We have worked with leading local and global environmental assessment experts. In order to minimize the negative impacts of the construction, we plan the access roads as remote as the forestry land. We will build 65 viaducts and one ecological small bridge to preserve the natural life,” Çeçen said. He added that it is four times more costly to build a viaduct than to build normal road.

The consortium made the pre-contracts with seven Turkish banks, including Akbank, Ziraat Bank, Bakıfbank, Halkban, Yapı Kredi, İş Bank and Garanti Bank, to guarantee a $2.3 billion loan, to be paid back in 9-9.5 years. “Ecological sensitivity is a must to us as well as the banks. They give great importance to the environmental friendliness of our project,” Çeçen said.

The banks are now waiting for the final environmental assessment reports to make the final contract, according to sources. 

The new bridge will have eight road lanes as well as two rail tracks. The bridge, which is expected to be about 1.4 kilometers in length and 59 meters in width, will be built north of the two existing ones, between the Garipçe district on the European side and the Poyrazköy district on the Asian side. When the bridge is completed, all trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be directed to it.

The Turkish state has guaranteed that 135.000 vehicles would cross over the planned third bridge each day, according to the tender specifications. “The bridge toll will be $3 per vehicle. And 8 cents will be charged from each vehicle per one kilometer on the motorway. One fourth of the total revenue will come from the bridge tolls,” Çeçen said. If more than 135.000 vehicles cross the bridge, the bridge toll will decrease automatically.