An underwater tunnel that will considerably shorten the duration of travel for vehicles from Istanbul’s Asian side to the European one will be tested on Oct. 8, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expected to take a test drive in the tunnel with an official car, daily Sabah reported Oct. 7.
Asphalt work for the tunnel was completed before the first passage.
The construction of U-turns in the Kazlıçeşme area on the European side, as well as underground tunnels in the Samatya and Yenikapı areas, have also reached the final stage.
In addition, signboards displaying tunnel destinations have been placed on the roads between Sarayburnu and Kazlıçeşme and between Harem and Göztepe.
Drivers will be able to use the tunnel after paying tolls at automatic toll collection systems, in a similar method used on other cross-strait bridges in the city.
Drilling works for a roadway tunnel were completed on Aug. 24.
The 3.34-km-long tunnel under the sea, which is also dubbed the “Istanbul Straight Road Crossing Project” will connect the two continents for a second time. The total distance of the tunnel will be 5.4 kilometers, 3.34 kilometers of which are under the sea. With the access roads, the Eurasia Tunnel Project’s total distance will be 14.6 kilometers. At its deepest point, the tunnel will be 106.4 meters below the surface.
With the new tunnel, the travel time between Kazlıçeşme on the European side and Göztepe on the Asian side by car will decrease from around 100 minutes at present during rush hour to just 15. This will make a positive contribution to the economy by decreasing fuel consumption amounts as well as carbon emission amounts, according to those leading the project.
The project is being constructed using a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model that will ultimately cost $1.2 billion. Some 960 million of the amount was provided through international loans, while the remaining amount was financed by the project holders, Yapı Merkezi and SK E&K.
According to international standardization reports, the tunnel will last at least 127 years.
After the completion of the project, the Eurasia Tunnel Operation, Construction and Investment Co. will run the tunnel for the next 24 years and five months, after which the tunnel’s operational rights will be transferred to the state.
The mega project will be inaugurated on Dec. 20.