The Istanbul-Izmir highway, built at a cost of $10 billion, will bring down the distance between Istanbul and Izmir to just 3.5 hours. The highway, one of Turkey's largest infrastructure projects, will open on Aug. 8 before the Qurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha), ahead of the previously scheduled Oct. 29.
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Bursa Deputy Mustafa Esgin recently visited the project site and received information from highway officials on its current status. "Now we are close to the end of the project that started in 2011. It was scheduled to end in 2020. Currently, the construction is at 94 percent. The entire highway will be inaugurated within the next one-and-a-half months," Esgin said.
Constructed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, the Istanbul-Bursa-Izmir highway project has a total length of 426 kilometers, including a 384-kilometer highway and a 42 kilometer of the access road. So far, 201 kilometers of the highway and 33 kilometers of access road have been put into service. The 97-kilometer highway between the Bursa West Junction and Balıkesir North and 3.4-kilometer access road, as well as the 87-kilometer highway between Balikesir North Junction and Akhisar Junction and the 5.6-kilometer access road, are scheduled to be completed by Qurban Bayram.
Bursa Deputy Esgin also made on-site examinations as far as Karacabey and received information about different studies from the Regional Director of the Public-Private Partnership Sezgin Küçükbekir.
"The Istanbul-Bursa-Izmir motorway is one of the largest projects in Turkey's recent history," Esgin said. "This project, which will integrate Istanbul and İzmir, makes Bursa a crossroads."
Pointing to the importance of the Istanbul-Izmir highway with 426-kilometer access road, Esgin said the project, including the Osmangazi Bridge, was of great significance in this regard. "The project was launched in 2011. We wanted to finish the project by the 2019 Republic Day," he continued. "During the Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan Bayram), we conducted some studies with the Minister of Interior."
Recalling that there was heavy traffic between Bursa and Karacabey, together with the traffic load of Izmir and Çanakkale, Esgin said they were trying to see if it could be completed in time for the holiday. He further noted that viaducts and the construction of the road have reached 94 percent, adding in a month and a half, the entire highway would be opened.
Esgin said that this key project in the Republic's history would cost $10 billion. "Turkey has realized very important world-class projects in the last 17 years. These are all success stories," he added.