GRAA Winner Profile: World’s Longest Suspension Bridge Opens in Turkey

The opening of the majestic 1915 Canakkale Bridge on March 18, 2022, well ahead of its initial schedule, hat set new records for Turkey and international bridge engineering. After Istanbul's three bridges over the Bosphorus Strait, Turkey now boasts a fourth bridge connecting Europe and Asia, and the first to span the Dardanelles Strait.

In addition to linking the two shores, the bridge also ambitions to connect Turkey’s past and future. The steel structure is named after the Canakkale battle, a decisive naval victory, regarded today as a key milestone towards the foundation of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923. Even the bridge’s dimensions offer a nod to history: the mid-span stretch stands at 2,023 meters, symbolizing the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, while the towers stretch to a height of 318 meters above sea level, marking the exact date of the 1915 battle.

The bridge and 88-kilometer Malkara-Çanakkale Motorway which leads to it represent a mega-scale transformative investment for Turkey and its neighbors by contributing to the realization of an uninterrupted trade route from Beijing to London.

The six-lane road will cut down the crossing of the Strait, which can be as long as 5 hours depending on the ferry queues, to just 6 minutes.

The project is expected to deliver an enormous contribution to Turkey’s economy by producing an economic value equivalent to 5.3 billion euros and by generating upwards of 118,000 jobs. The bridge will save also 415 million euros for Turkey each year from a reduction of fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

The project is also notable for its funding arrangements. It was tendered by Turkey’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure using a Build-Operate-Transfer model. Financial agreements were achieved with 25 financial institutions from 10 countries on 16 March 2018, securing a 15-year term loan with a grace period of 5 years, for a total sum of 2.265 billion euros. The Korean export credit agency and Korea Trade Insurance Corporation participated in the financing with a loan of 1 billion EUR in cash and guarantees, the largest credit package ever received by a project in Turkey. Among other organizations that have provided cover are the Danish export credit agency EKF and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

The four delivery companies (Limak and Yapı Merkezi from Turkey, DL E&C and SK Ecoplant from South Korea) contributed to the project by allocating their particular technical expertise acquired in diverse projects across the world, mobilizing up to 4,000 engineers since construction began in March 2017.

Receiving the IRF Global Road Achievement Award in the Project Finance & Economics category, Turkey’s Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure, H.E. Adil Karaismailoglu noted “I am sure that the bridge’s outstanding technical and financial features will be a great source of inspiration for future projects all over the world. In this respect, we are sincerely grateful for this invaluable recognition.”

Showcasing Industry Excellence

The International Road Federation’s Global Road Achievement Awards (GRAA) is a one-of-a kind competition to recognize innovative road projects and exemplary people that place the road industry at the forefront of worldwide social and economic development.

Instituted in 2000, the Awards have distinguished more than 185 programs, projects and products from around the world. Today, the Awards are recognized as a prestigious industry accolade in their own right, but they also serve to remind a much wider audience that the mobility everyone takes for granted would not be possible without the talent and commitment of our industry.

2022 applications are currently being accepted across the 12 award categories through May 8, 2022 at www.irf.global/graa

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