The Eurasia Tunnel Project (Istanbul Strait Road Tube Crossing Project), the first highway tunnel under the seabed joining Asia and Europe, received the Major Tunneling Project of the Year at the ITA Tunneling Awards, held for the first time by the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA), one of the most reputable organizations in the world in the field of engineering and tunneling. The Eurasia Tunnel Project exemplifies achievement, marking a new era in tunneling for the world with its intensive innovation, advanced technologies and robust engineering expertise.
The ITA Tunneling Awards were announced at an event held on 19 November, organized by the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA), which is considered the most important association of the world in the field of tunneling, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Eurasia Tunnel Project was shortlisted in the Major Tunneling Project of the Year category during the pre-selection process made from among 110 applications in 9 categories from around the world. The Eurasia Tunnel received the “Major Tunneling Project of the Year” award from among the three projects in the final selection process voted on by the jury. Project Manager Naim İşli and Deputy Project Manager Jin Moo Lee accepted the award on behalf of the companies, Yapı Merkezi and SK E&C, carrying out the Eurasia Tunnel Project. The project was presented to participants by TBM Technical Office Chief Öncü Gönenç.
Eurasia Tunnel marks a new era in tunneling
Contracted by the General Directorate of Infrastructure Investments (AYGM) under the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications with the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model on the Kazlıçeşme-Göztepe route, the investment and construction work of the Eurasia Tunnel Project are being conducted by Yapı Merkezi and SK Engineering & Construction. The tunnel boring work for the 3,344 meter-long tunnel under the Istanbul Bosphorus Strait was completed in August, heralding a new era in tunneling. Tunnel boring work was launched on 19 April 2014 with a ceremony with then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in attendance. The work was completed on 22 August 2015, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu participating in the ceremony.
Composed of three main segments with a total length of 14.6 kilometers, the 3.4 kilometers long Strait Crossing Tunnel was the most important stage of the Eurasia Tunnel Project. The most advanced Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) technology of the world was used for the Strait Crossing Tunnel. The TBM employed for this project ranks first in the world with its 33.3 kW/m2 cutting head, second worldwide with its operating pressure of 12 bars and sixth in world with its 13.7 m excavation diameter. The tunnel consists of 1,672 rings in total and two seismic rings were constructed at two different points to increase the resistance of the tunnel against a possible major earthquake. Specially designed and tested by labs for assuring its success, the seismic rings are a first in the world in the TBM tunneling sector, considering the current diameter and seismic activity level. The Avrasya Tüneli İşletme İnşaat ve Yatırım A.Ş. (ATAŞ) company, founded by Yapı Merkezi and SK E&C companies to undertake the design and construction work of the project, will operate the project for a period of 24 years and 5 months.
Investments for the project do not require any public funding. The project financing has been obtained from loans secured by ATAŞ and the capital invested by Yapı Merkezi and SK E&C companies. The Eurasia Tunnel will be transferred to the public when its operation period ends. The project is planned to begin operations at the end of 2016.
About ITA Tunneling Awards
With the growth of infrastructure needs and requirements for better use of space and resources, the development of underground options have often proved to provide relevant solutions to these challenges. The ITA has taken the initiative to launch its own dedicated Tunneling Awards to identify outstanding achievements in the field of tunneling and underground space use, and provide international recognition to these remarkable contributions.