Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan said subsea drilling work is being carried for the "Three-Level Grand Istanbul Tunnel Project" preparation and engineering services. "The [initial work] will be completed at the end of this year and the construction bidding will be held with the build-operate-transfer model in 2018," he added.
Arslan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that people experienced the ease of the rail system with the Marmaray and had the pleasure of driving under the seabed with the Eurasia Tunnel.
Citing the comfort of five-minute travel between the two continents, Arslan said they will realize the tunnel project, which will bring together the Marmaray and Eurasia Tunnel, as a result of technical work conducted in the direction of people's demands.
He explained that the rail system, which will reach underground from İncirli and go under the sea from Mecidiyeköy and Zincirlikuyu, will be connected to the Kadıköy-Kartal metro line and Marmaray from Söğütlüçeşme. He added the tunnel, which will also go underground from Hasdal on the European side will be connected to this tunnel in the same way, adding that it will exit from Çamlık and be connected to TEM on the Anatolian side.
Asserting that this will be an important advantage for both automobiles and rail, Arslan said the Marmaray is integrated with all rail systems from Halkalı to Gebze, pointing out that this will also be integrated with many other rail systems from Incirli to Sögütlüçeşme, which carry 6.5 million passengers per day.
"This means when people leave home, they will continue their journey with the rail system by transferring to another line. It is a very important project and we have made significant progress," Arslan said. "We will hold the bidding next year and start the construction processes."