One of Turkey’s megaprojects, the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge, whose foundations were laid in 2017, was opened to traffic on Friday in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The historic Dardanelles-crossing project was commissioned on March 18, which coincides with the 107th anniversary of the Çanakkale naval victory.
Erdoğan said at the ceremony that Turkey inaugurated the world’s longest mid-span suspension bridge today, leaving behind Japan, which held first place.
“An investment of 2.5 billion euros ($2.76 billion) has been made for the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge, as our country’s annual gain in terms of time, fuel consumption and carbon emissions will be 415 million euros,” Erdoğan also said.
The bridge was built under a public-private partnership model, Erdoğan reiterated, noting that the country ranks third in Europe and 13th in the world in terms of this business model.
“Calculations indicate that this project will bring 5.3 billion euros of production to our economy, the employment of 118,000 people and 2.4 billion euros of national income,” added the president.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum also attended the opening ceremony.
He hailed the new bridge as “a main artery of Turkey’s economy”, saying it will greatly facilitate the movement of people and goods.
This bridge will allow Turkiye to further consolidate its position as an international logistics hub connecting Europe, the Middle East, Northern Europe and Central Asia, he added.
The bridge will reduce the time needed to travel between Asia and Europe and remove obstacles that arise during crossings. Normally, traveling between the European and Anatolian sides of Çanakkale takes around 30 minutes by ferry, however, services are sometimes canceled in stormy weather and during holiday periods hours are spent queuing.
The final earthworks and paving of the bridge have recently been completed. Some 5,000 workers were employed during the construction of the project, the foundations of which were laid on March 18, 2017.
The giant structure will be connected to the Malkara-Çanakkale highway and will represent the most important part of the 101 kilometer (62.75 mile) route.
When the entire Kınalı-Tekirdağ-Çanakkale-Savaştepe highway project is connected with the Gebze-Izmir highway, a chain of highways will be formed around the Sea of Marmara. Home to nearly a third of Turkey’s population, the eponymous region includes major industrial and commercial hubs.
With the completion of the project, a reduction in ferry traffic is expected, especially during the summer months and public holidays, providing alternative transport routes from the provinces of Istanbul and Thrace to the regions of Marmara and the Aegean Sea.
Ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony, Kenan Sofuoğlu, head of the Turkish Motorcycling Federation (TMF) national team, five-time Supersport World Championship winner and current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) MP ), and World Superbike Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu crossed the bridge together, waving the country’s flag.
The longest in the world
In addition to reducing travel times, the project ensures that all ports in the Marmara and Aegean regions are integrated into all transport systems.
The 1915 Çanakkale Bridge is the longest mid-span suspension bridge in the world, spanning 2,023 meters (6,637 ft) between its towers, which are painted red and white to reflect the colors of the Turkish flag.
The megaproject, undertaken by a consortium of South Korean and Turkish companies, is the country’s fourth bridge and fifth crossing to connect Asia and Europe after the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Marmaray Railway Tunnel and Eurasia. Tunnel. It will be the first bridge to connect the two continents through the Dardanelles.
Shaped to symbolize artillery shells in homage to the legendary Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, the spiers stood 318 meters high.
The span of 2,023 meters symbolizes the year 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The total length of the bridge reaches 4,608 meters, including the side spans of 770 meters each and the approach viaducts of 365 meters and 680 meters.
It is a split road bridge, with three lanes in each direction. The bridge deck, which is to serve two three-lane roads, will be 45.06 meters wide and 3.5 meters high. The walkways on either side of the deck will be used for maintenance and repair.