Turkey has launched a project for one of the world’s largest bridges connecting Europe and Asia through the Bosphorous, reported Reuters.
The bridge forms a new link across the Bosphrous Strait, emulating the style of the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is 1.4 kilometers long and 59 meters wide, with eight lanes and two high-speed rail lines.
The bridge costs $ 3 billion and has been dubbed the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, after the Ottoman ruler, located at the edge of Istanbul.
The project comes as part of a decade-long infrastructure investment plan, worth $200 billion that was introduced three years ago.
The bridge ranks among the world’s biggest suspension bridges in terms of deck width and height of pylons, as well as length of span, according to Trade Arabia.
Italian-owned Astaldi partnered with Istanbul-based IC Ictas for the construction of the bridge. The two companies will jointly operate it for the next ten years. It is expected to ease congestion, reduce fuel costs, and save time.
However, environmentalists have claimed the the project threatens Istanbul’s last forestland and will pollute water supplies, while economists warn that cost of such a project is unsustainable.
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan nonetheless stated that the bridge is deemed important as it will ease transportation between Europe and Asia.