Longest suspension bridge in the world opens to connect Asia with Europe

By: | April 13th, 2022

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Turkey has opened a record-breaking new road suspension bridge in the province of Canakkale, spanning the Dardanelles strait and essentially connecting Asia to Europe. The bridge was named “1915 Çanakkale Bridge,” and the opening ceremony took place on March 18, 2022, carrying a symbolism concerning the Ottoman naval victory in the “Battle of 18 March” that took place in the area.

The new bridge has a total length of 4,608 meters (15,118 feet), a width of 45.06m (148 ft), a height of 334m (1,096 ft), and its longest span between towers is 2,023 meters (6,637 ft). This last figure is a record-breaking one, surpassing the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Japan by 32 meters (105 ft), making the “1915 Çanakkale Bridge” the longest of its kind in the world. As for the clearance below, that’s 70 meters (230 feet), allowing unrestrained and direct vessel traffic from and to the sea of Marmara.

The bridge cost a whopping $2.7 billion, but it’s estimated to save the country $458 million per year in fuel and carbon emissions, so it has a return of investment period of about six years. This is one of the several mega-projects that Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has realized during his multiple successive terms, aiming to boost the country’s goods export and transportation activity.

The completion time of the bridge’s construction was equally impressive, as it only started in March 2017 and ended in February 2022, so the massive project was completed in just under five years.

On the other hand, the enormous project wasn’t free of internal criticism. Many in Turkey have questioned its economic viability and how realistic it is to expect it to relieve the pressure on the overburdened Bosporus strait. Moreover, environmental concerns have been raised too, as the construction has disrupted marine life and threatens to increase pollution from car emissions in a previously pristine area.

Bill Toulas

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