The Turkish public on Friday witnessed the opening of the country’s “smartest” highway that connects the capital Ankara with central Niğde province with a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"With its multiple features, we have built a highway of the future through this project," Erdoğan said in his address.
This project, designed as a "smart" highway thanks to the fiber network laid along it, will save the country nearly TL 1.628 billion ($220 million) per year, the president noted.
The 330-kilometer (205-mile) highway will be managed from a single command center with a domestically developed smart transportation systems infrastructure.
It features a locally developed technology system that integrates cameras along the highway and the accident detection system, through which drivers will be notified immediately of accidents and other risky circumstances that may occur on the highway.
The Ankara-Niğde highway includes 275 kilometers of highways and 55 kilometers of access roads.
The first and third sections of the highway, namely Ankara-Acıkuyu, consisting of 105 kilometers of road and 14 kilometers of the access roads, and the Alayhan-Gölcük junctions, consisting of 57 kilometers of highway and 2 kilometers of the access road, were opened on Friday. The remaining section will be opened on Oct. 29.
The project will create connections from Ankara to southern provinces of Mersin, Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay and Şanlıurfa.
The highway will nearly halve the travel time between Ankara and Niğde, reducing it from four hours and 14 minutes to two hours and 22 minutes, Erdoğan said.
The highway is expected to save 127.55 million liters (33.69 million gallons) of fuel annually.
Within the scope of the project, a fiber optic cable infrastructure of 1.3 million meters (4.27 million feet) was laid along the road. Also, along the highway, 500 traffic sensors, nine meteorological measurement stations, 208 incident detection cameras, 335 smart transportation field management units and 687 digital media servers were installed.
Having attached major importance to upgrading transportation and accessible infrastructure since the early 2000s, the Turkish government has invested around TL 767.5 billion in multiple projects.
"Over the last 18 years, we have managed to add 1,581 kilometers to our country's highway system, which has reached a total length of 3,295 kilometers," Erdoğan said.
The president noted that during the pandemic, when the health systems of many countries collapsed, "We gave our citizens the best service for free."
"By supporting all segments of society, we have ensured that the economic and social balances remain strong," he added.
The highway will be monitored 24/7 by the 15-member control center team. The system will be activated in case of accidents, traffic congestion and other dangerous situations. Once the operators in the control center are informed about the incidents via cameras, drivers will be notified through smart signs on the route.
Within the scope of its construction, five viaducts that total 3,566 meters, 2,368 meters of 49 bridges, 4,506 meters of 75 overpasses and approximately 131 million cubic meters of excavations have been carried out.
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