Korean consortium signs deal to build world’s longest suspension bridge

A consortium made up of South Korean and Turkish contractors has finalised a deal to build a 3.6km suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Strait between European and Asian Turkey. The team, composed of Daelim, SK, Limak and Yapi Merkezi will build the crossing for 10.35 billion Turkish lira ($2.8bn).

The ceremony was attended by Korean transport minister Kang Hoin, who was visiting Ankara to promote Korean companies’ expertise in large-scale infrastructure projects. Yesterday he signed a memorandum of understanding on railroads, roads, research and development, according to the Turkish state Anadolu agency.

The Korean team had been expected to win the build, operate, transfer contract since the end of January. Its main advantage was that it had offered to recoup its expenses and hand the bridge back to the Turkish government in 16 years, less than its rivals.

Kang said: "The Canakkale 1915 Bridge can facilitate the country’s transportation. This project will enable Turkey to show its geopolitical position, natural beauty and cultural richness to foreigners."

He added that Korea was ready to help Turkey improve its economic growth by improving its level of technological development and "modifying the structure of its industrial sector".

Ahmet Arslan, the Turkish minister of transport, told Anadolu Agency that Turkey was hoping to learn from Korea and then to use its knowledge to improve the competitiveness of Turkey’s construction industry. He said: "We will develop technology, which is essential for these kinds of megaprojects, by constructing the worlds biggest bridge.

"After completing this, we will be able to do similar projects in all around the world."

Three other consortiums were in the running for the Canakkale bridge.

A team made up of IHI and Itochu of Japan and Makyol and Nurol of Turkey offered $2.72bn, with a 17 year, 10 month lease. A consortium made up of China Road and Bridge Consortium and Cengiz and Kolin of Turkey bid $2.67bn with an 18 year, eight month lease. Astaldi of Italia and Ictas of Turkey bid $3bn with an 18 year, five month construction and lease time.

Image: The Canakkale 1915 Bridge will be longer than Japan’s Akashi-Kaikyo, present holder of the longest span record (Wikipedia Commons)

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