Turkey inaugurates fourth-longest suspension bridge

Turkey inaugurates fourth-longest suspension bridge

Turkey inaugurates fourth-longest suspension bridge

AA photo

A landmark road bridge over the Marmara Sea that aims to drastically cut travel time between Istanbul and the country’s western provinces opened to traffic in Turkey on June 30 following over half-a-decade of construction. 

The Osmangazi Bridge, a 2,682-meter-long structure, is the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world and the second longest in Europe.        

The $1.3 billion bridge is named after Osman Gazi, the founder and first sultan of the Ottoman Empire.  

The construction of the ostensibly quake-resistant bridge began in 2010. It was formally inaugurated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on June 30.        

The bridge lies crosses between two points on the southern shore of the Marmara Sea along the route of the new six-lane Istanbul-İzmir Highway Project, which will cost around $6.3 billion in total.

The existing route between Gebze, a district in the western province of Kocaeli bordering Istanbul, and İzmir is 540 km long and currently takes eight to 10 hours to travel. The new motorway is expected to reduce the average journey time between the two cities to three to four hours, while relieving the traffic load on the existing route by more than 30 percent. The 421-km road project involves 30 viaducts.

The new bridge and highway will also mean that the drive-time between Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the country’s second busiest airport, and the northwestern industrial province of Bursa will be less than an hour.        

The motorway project is being built through a public private partnership (PPP) and is the first road project in Turkey to be procured under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. The project’s cost is around $6.3 billion and it has created around 8,000 jobs, according to the latest data.

Meanwhile, Kenan Sofuoğlu, a Turkish world superstar professional motorcycle racer, set a new record speed record over the bridge on June 30, reaching 400 kilometers per hour on his unmodified Kawasaki H2R sports bike.