The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) has approved a US$150 million (€115 million) loan to support construction of a tunnel in Turkey that will link Europe and Asia.

The 5.4km Eurasia Tunnel will be built 25m under the Bosphorus strait, which divides the Turkish city of Istanbul between two continents – separating Asian Turkey from European Turkey.

EBRD’s loan will complete the US$1.4 billion (€1.1 billion) financing for the project. The European Investment Bank (EIB) also provided a US$350 million (€269 million) loan towards the project.

Designed to improve traffic management in Istanbul, the Eurasia Tunnel is planned for completion in 2017 and will also connect on both the European and Turkish sides to wider road networks. The overall length of the project is 14.6km.

The concession contract for the Eurasia Tunnel, also known as the Istanbul Strait Road Tube Crossing, will be built by ATAS – a Turkey-Korea joint venture consortium which was selected trough an international tender by the Turkish government to build and operate the tunnel.

The investment partners in ATAS are Turkish contractor Yapi Merkezi and Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction.

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