İstanbul, August 26, AZERTAC
An opening ceremony for the third bridge spanning Istanbul’s Bosphorus was held Friday, according to Anadolu Agency.
An Azerbaijani delegation led by Speaker of the parliament Ogtay Asadov attended the event. The delegation included the Azerbaijani President`s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov, chairman of the committee on Azerbaijani-Turkish interparliamentary ties Ahliman Amiraslanov and other officials.
The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge was described as a new necklace for the city by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
“It will not only serve to Istanbul but also serve to every journey in the historic Silk Road, starting from the Far East, ending in Europe and bringing civilizations together by connecting people,” he told a crowd of dignitaries.
The bridge, which cost nearly $3 billion to construct, is the latest in a raft of infrastructure “mega-projects” unveiled by the government.
The 1.4 kilometer (0.9 mile) bridge will carry eight lanes of traffic and two rail lines between Europe and Asia at the entrance of the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.
Named after Selim I, the 16th century sultan known for his expansion of the Ottoman empire, the bridge accompanies the July 15 Matryrs’ Bridge -- previously the Bosphorus Bridge -- and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in spanning the Bosphorus.
It is the world’s longest suspension rail bridge and will lead to $1.75 billion-a-year in savings through reduced travel times and energy costs.
All trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be directed to the bridge when it is opened to ease traffic on the other bridges, as well as cut congestion and pollution in Istanbul.
It forms part of the Northern Marmara Motorway Project, the next two phases of which will see 257 km (160 miles) of roads completed by the end of 2018.
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan said the government would continue to strengthen Turkey’s infrastructure. “Without using any public sources, we will maintain such mega-projects through the build-operate-transfer finance model,” he said.
An estimated 135,000 vehicles are expected to use the bridge daily, with those travelling from Europe to Asia paying a toll, set at 9.90 Turkish liras (around $3) for cars.