Turkey opens world's fourth-longest suspension bridge
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim have inaugurated the Osmangazi Bridge, the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world and the second longest in Europe.

During a short opening speech in Turkey's western province of Kocaeli Thursday evening, President Erdogan said he hopes the bridge, which will be free of charge during the religious festival of Eid immediately after Ramadan, will bring good luck.

The 2,682-meter-long bridge is named after Osman Gazi, the founder and first leader of the Ottoman Empire. The construction began in 2010 and cost $1.3 billion.

Erdogan and Yildirim have for years championed expanding the country's airport and road facilities in order to achieve better connectivity between provinces.

The bridge lies in the southern shore of the Marmara Sea along the route of the new six-lane Istanbul-Izmir Highway Project, which cost around $6.3 billion.

The 421-kilometer (261.6-mile) long highway will cut the average journey time between Izmir and Istanbul from 10 hours to approximately four hours.

The new bridge and highway will also mean that the drive-time between the country's second busiest Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the eastern province of the Bursa would be less than an hour.

The highway project is built through a public-private partnership and is the first road project in the country to be procured under the Build-Operate-Transfer model.

Meanwhile, Kenan Sofuoglu, world-renowned Turkish motorcycle racer, broke a record prior to the inauguration ceremony.

Sofuoglu, who has the most number of World SuperSport championships with four titles, managed to hit the 400-kilometer (248.5 miles) per hour barrier on his sports bike within 30 seconds in a special suit, following three months of preparation.
Last Modified: 2016-06-30 19:56:10
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