Turkish authorities have decided to cut the width of the planned Kanal Istanbul from 400 meters to 275 meters, a move that would reduce the TL 65 billion ($14.19 billion) project cost by more than half to TL 30 billion.
The new cost-saving arrangement would also mean that only 800 million cubic meters of earth would be excavated instead of the previously estimated 1.7 billion cubic meters. In addition, the move will also reduce the lengths of the six planned bridges, bringing down the cost even further.
While six bridges were planned initially, studies for a seventh bridge have been initiated upon the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's (İBB) request. Up until now, six bridges were planned to link the D-100, TEM, North Marmara, the state road, the municipal road and the D-20 to the north. The route of the seventh bridge is not clear yet.
It was also reported that two of the bridges would have railway links. Some of the bridges would be two-storied, with an underpass and have a railway system or road for vehicles on the upper section.
A key part of the government's 2023 goals, the idea of Kanal Istanbul, a canal parallel to the Bosporus that is planned to connect the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara, was floated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2011. A 1/100,000-scale route and reserve structure plan for the project was completed recently. Once completed, the canal will reduce shipping traffic, particularly oil tanker traffic, passing through the Bosporus Strait.
Kanal Istanbul will be 45.2 kilometers long and will extend through Istanbul's Avcılar, Küçükçekmece, Başakşehir and Arnavutköy districts.
The construction phase will employ more than 6,000 people and 1,500 people will be employed in the operation phase.
In addition, Kanal Istanbul Administration will be established within the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and
Communications to carry out the project. TOKİ (the government-backed housing agency), Emlak Konut, İBB, Highways and Railways will be the key stakeholders of the institution. A portion of the earth excavated from the project site will be used at the People's Garden, set to replace Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Some of the excavated earth will be used to create three artificial islands in the Sea of Marmara.The tender for the Kanal Istanbul project
will be floated at the end of this year with construction likely to begin soon after.