The design of the inside the EurAsia Undersea Tunnel, a double-deck tunnel dug under the seabed in the Bosphorus Sea 3.4 km long, which was completed by SK E&C in 16 months from August, last year, when the work was launched. (Photo: SK E&C)
The EurAsia Tunnel Project that SK Engineering And Construction Co. has been taking part has been chosen as the Global Best Project of the Year in the tunnel and bridge sector by the Engineering News Record.
The tunnel is the first undersea tunnel connecting Europe and Asia some 110 meters deep with air pressures 11 times higher than the normal air pressure on the surface recognize the technological prowess needed to build the undersea facility, the construction company said on July 21.
The Engineering News Record(ENR) evaluates and selects the Global Best Project annually from the list of construction companies around the world analyzing their operations in 17 detailed areas including bridges and tunnels and SK E&C has become the first Korean construction firm to be involved with the project named as the Global Best Project named by ENR for this year.
The Eurasia Tunnel project will construct a 5.4-kilometer (3.3-mile) double-deck road tunnel across the Bosphorus strait of Istanbul, connecting Kazlıcesme in Europe and Goztepe on Istanbul’s Asian side.
SK E&C was recently recognized for completing a 3.34-kilometer part of the tunnel underwater. The world’s largest tunnel boring machine, known as TBM, 13.7 meters in diameter, 120 meters in length and 3,300 tons in weight, was mobilized for the past 16 months to pass through the strait.
“Ahead of completion of the tunnel, SK E&C is winning awards from international organizations,” said Seo Seok-jae, an executive at the company. “We are pleased to be recognized for our technologies that helped difficult underwater works be successful.”
In December, the company won the Major Project Award from the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association for the project. It was also the first Korean builder recognized. The Eurasia Tunnel is slated to open in April 2017.
The Eurasia Tunnel Project will be constructed between Kazlıceşme and Goztepe along a 14.6 km route including a total 5.4 km twin-deck tunnel that will cross the Bosphorus beneath the seabed, with the aim to alleviate İstanbul’s transcontinental traffic pressure.
In addition to a road tunnel to cross the Bosphorus, The Eurasia Tunnel Project also includes the improvement and widening of current roads that lead to the tunnel on both sides of the Bosphorus for 9.2 km in total. The Eurasia Tunnel will create a transit route, which will provide the fastest transportation link between Turkey’s Asian and European Sides. It will link the Zeytinburnu and Bakırkoy regions which are west of the Historical Peninsula with Uskudar and Kadıkoy which are on the Asian Side. In this way, these parts of Istanbul will be brought close to each other.
The Eurasia Tunnel is designed to allow the passage of only light vehicles (automobiles, minivans and vans up to certain size). Neither heavy vehicles and twowheel vehicles nor pedestrians will be permitted in the tunnel. Expected to shorten the journey time between Kazlıceşme and Goztepe substantially, easy connections with the bridges and main arteries have been taken into consideration in the planning of the Eurasia Tunnel. When the project enters into service, the journey time presently taking up to 100 minutes will be able to decrease to as little as 15 minutes
“Eurasia Tunnel Project, which we initiated with the vision to provide transportation services for all our citizens in a high quality, well balanced, safe, environmentally sensitive, fair and economic manner, will not only elevate the quality of life of the people of Istanbul, but will also increase the global competitiveness of our country, said President Recep Tayyp Erdogan of Turkey.
Eurasia Tunnel is a Build-Operate-Transfer project. Build-Operate-Transfer model unites the dynamism and project experience of the private sector in Turkey with the support of the international finance corporations. The selection of route for Eurasia Tunnel was made via extensive feasibility studies held after the 2006 decision of the State Planning Board.
Then technical features were determined by the Directorate General of Infrastructure Investments (AYGM) of the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications for highway crossing of the Bosphorus from under the sea. AYGM announced a tender with Build-Operate-Transfer model on 30 December 2006 for the project called Istanbul Strait Road Tube Crossing Project. As a result of the international tender on competitive basis realized on 30 June 2008, the preliminary contract was initialed on 13 January 2009 with Avrasya Tuneli İşletme İnşaat ve Yatırım A.Ş. (ATAŞ), who was awarded the contract.