Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan said the preliminary qualification process, technical and financial offers regarding the research bid for the Three-Story Big Istanbul Tunnel Project have been received. According to the minister, envelopes which included the financial bids of three companies will be opened on Aug. 10 in part of the project which will be the third largest of its kind following the construction of the Marmaray and Eurasian tunnels and the first of its kind in the world once completed.
Arslan noted that the evaluation of technical offers is now complete, adding that work on the project is being carried out by the General Directorate of Infrastructure Investments quite carefully. Three bidding companies which were evaluated as technically competent on July 26 have been invited to open their financial offers. The company to score the highest mark from the tender evaluation committee in technical and financial terms will have won the tender. The winning company will be invited to sign a contract for the preparation of tender dossiers regarding the project's offshore drilling, mapping, routes and build-operate-transfer works. The tender will be held after approval is received from the Higher Planning Council.
Referring to the fact that the first three-story underwater tunnel in the world will connect the two sides of Istanbul's Bosporus strait, Arslan underlined that no one can prevent the actualization of mega projects like this one in Turkey.
According to the minister, the tunnel will save a significant amount of time for commuters while reducing fuel costs and posing no threat to air quality in Istanbul, emphasizing that it is an undersea project. Also, no public resources will be used for the financing of this project which will be actualized instead through a build-operate-transfer model. The construction and operation process will open up a significant number of job opportunities. The project includes both highway and railway lines and its railway system will be integrated to nine different urban railway systems which already exist or are planned to be constructed.
The tunnel will be integrated to the TEM, E5 and North Marmara highways through nine subway lines. When the project is put into service, commuters will be able to go from İncirli on Istanbul's European side all the way to Söğütlüçeşme on the city's Asian side in 30 minutes via a 31-kilometer high-speed subway line that will have 14 stations. Also, it will be possible to reach the Çamlık crossroad on the Anatolian side from the Hasdal crossroad on the European side in 14 minutes via a 14.5-kilometer highway. Nearly 6.5 million passengers will use the line on a daily basis.
The minister said, "As the backbone of both highways and rail systems, the tunnel will enable Istanbul's residents to make time planning while travelling from one side [of the city] to the other."