The foundations of the towers for Turkey’s new 1915 Çanakkale Bridge were laid on March 18 in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
March 18 also marks the 103th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire’s World War One victory over Allied fleets that were attempting to break through the Strait of Dardanelles in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.
Speaking at the ceremony, Erdoğan said the bridge would be opened on March 18, 2022.
“The agreement had set the date for the completion of the bridge for the end of 2023. We, however, have had talks and as a result of those talks we agreed that the bridge will be in service 18 months earlier than initially projected,” Erdoğan said.
The Dardanelles Strait is a difficult sea line for vessels and the new bridge will provide a solution, the president added.
Once complete, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge would be the world’s longest suspension bridge.
“The Çanakkale Bridge is the best answer to those who claim that the Turkish economy is facing problems,” Yıldırım said, adding that 70 percent of financing for the project is provided by foreign banks.
The Çanakkale 1915 Bridge — named in honor of the Ottoman victory in World War One— will span over 2,000 meters between Lapseki and Gelibolu (Gallipoli) in northwestern Turkey.
Early in 2017, a consortium of South Korean and Turkish companies — Daelim, SK E&C, Limak and Yapı Merkezi — won the tender and a 192-month lease for the historic bridge.