Banks commit to record-beating bridge over Dardanelles in Turkey

Twenty-four banks and lenders have reached financial close on a €2.43bn motorway PPP scheme in Turkey, which includes a record-beating 4.6-km bridge over the Dardanelles Strait dividing the continents of Europe and Asia.

The news was announced yesterday by UK engineer Mott MacDonald, which has been acting as lenders’ technical advisor for the scheme, and which will monitor construction.

Historically resonant for Turkey, the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge is named in commemoration of the Ottoman Empire’s victory at Gallipoli in the First World War.

The €1.68bn bridge has a 2,023-m suspension span, set to be the longest in the world. That measurement is significant, as well, because it commemorates the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

"Our local team based in Istanbul, supported by long-span bridge experts and our transport advisory team from the UK, worked hard to support a large lending group and comply with the tight timeline to bring the project to financial close," said Emre Yukarioglu, Mott MacDonald’s project manager.

The toll motorway project attracted 24 lenders including local and international banks and export credit agencies.

The bridge will carry the 88-km Malkara-Çanakkale Motorway over the Dardanelles Strait. It is part of Turkey’s plan to build a ring road around the Marmara region.

In March last year a consortium made up of South Korean and Turkish contractors was selected to build the bridge.

According to Mott MacDonald, a headroom clearance of 70m under the main span will allow navigation across the busy waterway for the tallest ships, while the 318-m-tall steel towers will be founded on concrete caissons in the strait.

Situated in a seismic zone, the bridge has been designed to withstand both earthquakes and severe winds.

Motorway and bridge are expected to be complete in 2021, Mott MacDonald said.

The firm carried out technical due diligence of the project documentation up to financial close.

That included reviewing design, construction methodology, operation and maintenance proposals, as well as transaction documents, the project’s budget, construction programme and payment mechanism.

Top image: Government’s render of the bridge scheduled for completion in 2021

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  1. Since there will be a road around the entire Marmara region, I wonder why the bridge is not being built over the narrowest part of the Dardanelles Strait, 1.4 kilometers between Canakkale and Kilitbahir.

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