The 6.5 kilometer-long twin-tube Mount Kup Tunnel in Turkey's eastern Anatolia region nears completion, a Turkish Transportation Ministry official has said.
"We have dug nearly four kilometers so far and are now very near [completion]," Hayri Turgut, a control engineer at Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication Ministry, said Friday.
The Mount Kop Tunnel is situated between Bayburt and Erzurum provinces on the ancient Silk Road route.
"Over 200 people are working day and night on the project. We will do our best to finish the project as soon as possible," Turgut said.
He said that the tunnel would be one of the critical passes of Turkey that would eliminate harsh winter conditions at 2,409 altitudes.
"The tunnel is expected to shorten the travel time to over one hour and will be important both for Turkey and the region," he added.
The tunnel would be the shortest way to connect Gurbulak, Turkey's border gate to Iran, and Trabzon Port. "When the tunnel will be completed, all the domestic and international links will be integrated with Trabzon Port," he said.
The project, which will cost 400 million Turkish liras (approx. $ 150 million), was launched in 2012 and is scheduled to finish by the end of 2015.