The Ilgaz July 15 Independence Tunnel, a project that began in 2012, was officially opened to traffic on December 25, 2016. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım presided over the opening ceremony, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also making an appearance via video conference.
Built within the Ilgaz Mountain and connecting Central Anatolia to the Western Black Sea region of Turkey, the Tunnel reduces travel time from 35 minutes to 8 minutes.
Drawing attention to the advantages of the tunnel, President Erdoğan said that it allows a fast and safe transit through a very difficult mountainous region. He concluded by saying that the tunnel is the culmination of a chain of mega projects that began with the opening of the Osmangazi Bridge in June, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in August, and the Eurasia Tunnel in December.