The Gebze-Orhangazi-İzmir Highway, which will bring down travel time between Istanbul and İzmir from nine hours to just three and a half, is nearly completed, reports Anadolu Agency (AA).
According to the General Directorate of Highways and Bursa Regional Directorate of Public-Private Sector Partnership, the new highway will also save an estimated $650 million annually.
The authorities also confirmed that the majority of the work, including the İzmit Bay Bridge and access roads, has been completed by the six-company consortium, Otoyol A.Ş. The highway is being built under a build-operate-transfer model.
The 433-kilometer-long project will include 384 kilometers of highway and 49 kilometers of the access road, of which 98 kilometers of highway and 16 kilometers of access road have already been opened. They include the 40 kilometer-long roadway connecting Altınova and Gemlik, some 12.6 kilometers between Gebze and Altınova (including the Osmangazi Bridge), 20 kilometers between Kemalpaşa intersection and İzmir and 25 kilometers connecting Gemlik and Bursa. Binder works on around 80 kilometers of roadway have also been completed.
In addition, a 3,586-meter-long twin-tube tunnel, the 3,210-meter twin-tube Belkahve Tunnel and the 2,500-meter twin-tube Selçukgazi Tunnel on the Gemlik-Bursa highway have been completed.
The 2,682-meter-long Osmangazi Bridge, the centerpiece of the project, was opened to traffic last April. Almost 252 meters tall, it has a 25.93-meter-long bridge deck. Its 1,550-meter-long main span makes it the fourth largest in the world. The bridge has shortened the 70-minute drive around the coast of İzmit to just six minutes.
The project includes a total of 30 viaducts, three tunnels, 20 toll booths, six highway maintenance and operations centers, three tunnel maintenance and operation centers.
The Osmangazi Bridge has become the most economical option for travel between Gebze and Altınova, as far as fuel, depreciation, time and environmental effects are concerned.
With the opening of the bridge, the traffic load on Gebze-İzmit and Altınova-Yalova-Bursa roads has gone down significantly. The adverse environmental impacts, including emission and noise pollution caused by traffic congestion, have also been reduced. The positive effects will only increase once the motorway is fully opened to service.
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