The announcement marks the end of a long tender process, during which the government faced such difficulties as protests by environmental activists and a lack of offers. Plans for the North Marmara project were announced in March 2011, with the bidding set to take place in August of that year but delayed until Jan. 10, 2012 at the request of candidate companies that had difficulty financing the project.
Certain parties opposed to the construction of the third bridge argue it will pose a threat to the city’s forests and natural resources, but government officials have been determined to finalize the process. The planned 414-kilometer-long North Marmara Highway will connect the western Marmara province of Tekirdağ to the Aegean province of İzmir via a third bridge over the Bosporus and another over the Gulf of İzmit. IC İÇTAŞ Construction and their Italian partner Astaldi Group were among the four candidates in the final stage of the tender on April 20. The tender commission required the winning venture to guarantee the bridge would be built in the shortest time possible, with the most favorable costing. Yıldırım said the İçtaş-Astaldi consortium offered to finalize the bridge in 36 months for an estimated cost of $4.5 billion. The Bosporus bridge will be constructed using a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
The proposed 1,275-meter-long suspension bridge over the Bosporus is planned to connect the neighborhood of Garipçe in the city’s Sarıyer district on the European side with the Poyrazköy neighborhood in Beykoz on the Asian side. The first bridge over the river, the Bosporus or Boğaziçi Bridge, was constructed in 1973. The second, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, named after 15th-century Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, was completed in 1988.
The North Marmara Highway is the largest BOT scheme in Turkey to date.