Road tun­nel un­der the Bosporus

Earth dug in the pro­ject enough to fill 788 Olympic pools, while the iron used could build 10 Eif­fel Tow­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Is­tan­bul

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan was sched­uled to open the first road tun­nel un­der­neath the Bosporus Strait in Is­tan­bul on Tues­day, the lat­est pro­ject com­pleted in his plan of trans­form­ing the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture.

Turkey in Oc­to­ber 2013 opened the Mar­maray rail tun­nel un­der­neath the iconic wa­ter­way, the first link be­neath the wa­ters that di­vide Europe and Asia.

But from Tues­day it will be pos­si­ble for the first time to drive un­der­neath the Bosporus due to a pro­ject aimed at re­liev­ing con­ges­tion in the traf­fic-clogged Turk­ish mega city.

‘Earth­quake proof’

The tun­nel re­quired an in­vest­ment of $1.25 bil­lion, in­clud­ing loans of $960 mil­lion, and will re­duce driv­ing time for the route from up to 2 hours to 15 min­utes.

It was built by a con­sor­tium con­sist­ing of pri­vate Turk­ish con­struc­tion com­pany Yapi Merkezi and South Korea’s SK Group.

The pro­ject com­prises a 5.4-kilo­me­ter tun­nel, with the por­tion be­neath the Bosporus 3.4 km long.

The two-story tun­nel was built with a spe­cial tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine which had a daily progress speed of 8-10 me­ters on av­er­age.

Ac­cord­ing to the de­sign­ers, the earth dug in the pro­ject would be enough to fill 788 Olympic pools, the ce­ment poured would fill 18 sta- di­ums, while the iron used could build 10 Eif­fel Tow­ers.

With Is­tan­bul ly­ing on an ac­tive seis­mic zone, the tun­nel has been de­signed to with­stand a mag­ni­tude-7.5 earth­quake.

It would be un­dam­aged even if Is­tan­bul saw a once-in-500-year earth­quake. And the tun­nel could re­sume op­er­a­tion “with slight main­te­nance works” in the event of a once-in-2,500-year earth­quake.

Turk­ish Trans­port Min­is­ter Ah­met Arslan said that it had been a “huge chal­lenge” to build the tun­nel at a depth of 106 me­ters un­der the seabed.

He said the author­i­ties planned to build a third tun­nel un­der the Bosporus that would have three storeys and carry both cars and trains.

“I think the Avrasya tun­nel will hugely ease the lives of the res­i­dents of Is­tan­bul,” Arslan said. “But we are not just go­ing to stop there.”

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