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The world’s longest suspension bridge opens for traffic

The world’s longest suspension bridge opens for traffic

18 March 2022 marked a special day for Turkey: the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge is open to traffic. The new bridge will carry up to 45,000 vehicles each day and is a vital element to stimulate local and international economic development, logistics and tourism in the area

COWI has been the consultant for the design-build contractor DLSY joint venture consisting of Daelim, Limak, SK and Yapi Merkezi since the start of the project in the Spring of 2017. We have carried out detailed design of this challenging suspension bridge and have furthermore carried out construction engineering for the erection of the bridge girder.

With a main span of 2,023 metres, the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge edges out Japan’s Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which has a 1,992-m-long main span and takes the world record as the longest spanning bridge. The two distinctive red towers have a height of 318m, the tallest in the world for suspension bridges.

Inger Birgitte Kroon, Project Direct, COWI, said: “The 1915 Çanakkale Bridge has been a fantastic project to work with. Not just for all the technical challenges that we as engineers love but also for the strong collaboration with DLSY, the owner and other involved parties. Only with a collaborative mindset from all parties has it been possible to design and construct a world record suspension bridge in less than 5 years.”

The area where the bridge is located is marked by several challenges, such as high winds, high seismic activity and high-stacked container ships all had to be considered. Strong winds are always critical for a long span suspension bridge and to ensure aerodynamic stability a twin-box girder was adopted.

The bridge is located at the southern entrance to the Marmara Sea towards Istanbul and is the only route toward the Black Sea in the North, with very large container ships and cruise ships passing under the bridge, the risk of ship impact was considered in the design.

Henrik Andersen, Senior Director for international bridge projects, COWI, concludes: “It has been incredible to follow this project from we signed the consultancy agreement in the Spring of 2017 and the first drawings through to the final bridge in just five years. I am very proud of my 400+ COWI colleagues who have contributed to this achievement, and it is great to see the final bridge opened for traffic.”