Invitations to bid for the construction of a $350 million suspension bridge across the Dardanelles straits at Canakkale on a build-operate- transfer (BOT) basis were to be issued in the week ending 3 March, industry sources say.

Some 10 local firms were to be approached directly by the Public Works & Housing Ministry. They include Tekfen, Enka, Sezai Turkes-Feyzi Akkaya (ST-FA), Entes, Yuksel, Bayindir, and Baytur, according to the sources. Dogus and Gama would probably also be on the list, they added. The local firms would be asked to team up with foreign partners with experience of building suspension bridges on this scale. Replies to the invitation would be due within two months.

Work on laying the foundations for the bridge should start by the end of May, according to Public Works & Housing Minister Halil Culhaoglu. The bridge will accommodate six lanes of traffic, and will be 1.44 kilometres long, he said. Consultant is the UK’s Brown Beech & Associates with the local Botek.

The Dardanelles bridge is needed as an alternative Europe-Asia crossing to take pressure off the existing two Bosporus bridges, and function as a new motorway link to open up northwest Anatolia and its rapidly expanding industrial cities.

A BOT short list is awaited soon for another major bridge crossing Izmit Bay (MEED 21:10:94; 23:9:94).