The Eurasia Tunnel, a mega project linking Istanbul’s Anatolian side to the heart of its historical district on the European side, was officially opened on December 20, 2016, during a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman, and a number of guest statesmen. With the addition of the Eurasia Tunnel to the three bridges currently spanning the Bosphorus, Istanbul now boasts four intercontinental motorways.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Erdoğan affirmed that Turkey has never neglected its agenda of growth and development. “What excites us so much about the Osman Gazi Bridge we opened in June, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in August, and now the Eurasia Tunnel, is the future of these projects. We are attending the opening ceremonies for projects in the fields of energy, education, health, sports, and infrastructure with the same excitement. Investments in basic services constitute the groundwork for other enterprises needed for the growth and development of a country,” said Erdoğan.
The Eurasia Tunnel was constructed in four years with a total length of 14.6 kilometers, including 5.4 kilometers of twin-deck tunnel crossing the Bosphorus underneath the seabed. The tunnel has been constructed for motor vehicles only and it will serve the Kazlıçesme-Göztepe route, which has some of the most intense traffic in Istanbul. According to officials, it is expected that the tunnel will decrease travel time on this route from 100 minutes to roughly 15 minutes. In addition to the time-saving benefit, the tunnel should also help lower pollution while increasing mobility, all of which will bring an economic boost along with social, cultural, and environmental benefits to the citizens of Istanbul and to the whole city. The environmentally-friendly Eurasia Tunnel has been built to withstand a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and can even be used as a shelter if required.
The contractor has the right to run the tunnel for the next 24 years within the scope of a build-operate-transfer model. After this initial period, the tunnel will be transferred to the state. The Eurasia tunnel is expected to make an annual contribution to the Treasury of around TRY 150-180 million during the 24-year term.