Turkey launches construction of a third bridge


Groundbreaking ceremony for a third suspension bridge over Istanbul's Bosporus Strait, promoted by the government as the world's widest suspension bridge, was held on Wednesday with the attendance of President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and top Turkish politicians. The project is estimated to cost $6 billion and aims to ease traffic in the highly congested city of nearly 15 million. The bridge alone is estimated to cost around $3 billion. The name of the bridge has been announced as "Yavuz Sultan Selim," one of the most prominent sultans in Ottoman history. "We thought a lot about which name should be given to the third bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and we have decided on Yavuz Sultan Selim," Gul said at the ceremony. The new bridge, which is expected to be about 1.3-kilometer in length, will be built north of the two existing ones, between the Garipce district on the European side and the Poyrazkoy district on the Asian side. Speaking at the ceremony, Erdogan asked Turkish construction firm ICTAS and Italian construction group Astaldi, the tender winners for the project, to complete the bridge by May 29, 2015. The firms' officials said they will "try their best."