Marmaray Tunnel will Open in 2011
Test runs for a new rail tunnel joining Europe and Asia by crossing Turkey are due to start in 2010, according to Turkish officials.
The massive $3bn Marmaray rail tube tunnel project is designed to carry 70,000 passengers per hour across the Bosphorous Strait which separates the two continents in Istanbul.
The four minute journey will connect to the city’s metro system and is expected to reduce travel times between the town of Gebze and Halki to an hour and a half.
Construction on the project began in 2004 and in April this year the first immersed tube section of the rail tunnel was placed in a trench at the bottom of the Bosphorus Straits.
The tunnel is part of a 76km system of railway upgrades. The main structures and system include the immersed tube tunnel, bored tunnels and cut-and-cover tunnels.
The project is being led by the General Directorate of Railways, Harbours and Airports Construction (DLH) – part of the Turkish Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
Pacific Consultants International of Japan are financing the project after winning a six year design-build contract in 2002 for the provision of design, tender preparation, and construction supervision of the railway crossing.