Turkey links Asia to Europe with new Bosphorus tunnel

Turkey links Asia to Europe with new Bosphorus tunnel

Turkey has inaugurated a new railway tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, creating an historic new link between Europe and Asia.

Work on the project began in 2004 but archaeological excavations delayed the construction.

The 8.5 mile long tunnel includes an immersed tube tunnel which government officials say is the world’s deepest at 60 metres below the seabed.

The inauguration of the ambitious project – which cost an €3 billion - coincides with the 90th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey.

The tunnel is part of a larger Marmaray project which also includes an upgrade of existing suburban train lines to create a 47-mile line that links the two continents.

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, launched the plan in 2004 as one of his mega construction projects for the bustling city of 16 million people.

He also facilitated work on a third airport, a third bridge across the Bosphorus and a canal parallel to the international waterway to ease traffic.

Transport is a major problem in Istanbul, and each day two million people cross the Bosphorus via two usually jammed bridges.