The government of Turkey has announced that work will begin next March on the world’s longest suspension bridge, across the Dardanelles strait (pictured) between Europe and Asia.
The 3.6km crossing will be built about 200km southwest of Istanbul, between Gallipoli on the European side and Lapseki on the Asian side.
Binali Yildirim, the prime minister of Turkey, announced during a cabinet meeting on Friday, 2 September, that the project was now officially launched and that ground would be broken on 18 March 2017.
The Akashi-Kaikyo brige, present holder of the longest span bridge (Wikipedia Commons)
The news caused house prices in the region of Canakkale to soar by 700%, reports newspaper Daily Sabah.
The bridge will bear the name of "Canakkale 1915" in honour of the Ottoman Empire’s victory in the battle of Gallipoli, which began in April 1915 and is seen as a defining moment in the birth of modern Turkey.
It has been claimed that the bridge will have the longest single span in the world, a record currently held by the $4.6bn Akashi-Kaikyo bridge between Kobe and Awaji Island in Japan, which has a central span of 1,991m.
Location of the bridge
In 2015, Feridun Bilgin, Turkey’s transport minister, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that the Canakkale bridge would have a central span longer than 2km.
The bridge was designed by the Istanbul-based engineering conglomerate Tekfen in 2012. It will have six lanes, and carry the 352-km Kinah-to-Savastepe motorway, which is due to be completed in 2023.
At present there are three bridges between Europe and Asia, but they all span the Bosporus at Istanbul, across the Sea of Marmara. The third of these, the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, was opened on 26 August.
The Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, opened last month (Wikimedia Commons)
At the ceremony, Turkish president Recep Erdogan said: "We are connecting continents. We are celebrating together and we are very proud of it. The nation deserves this. This is a great and joyful day."
Top image: Satellite photograph of the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Dardanelles strait between Europe and Asia (Wikipedia Commons)