Astaldi to build $2.5bn third Istanbul bridge

The Italian developer, together with Turkish construction firm Ictas Insaat Sanayi Ticaret, has won the 10-year build-operate-transfer contract.

A consortium of Italian construction company Astaldi and Turkish counterpart Ictas Insaat Sanayi Ticaret has won a 10-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract to build a third bridge over the Bosporus, in Istanbul.

The 1.3-kilometre-long suspension bridge is estimated to cost some $2.5 billion and should be up and running by 2015. It will connect the Gaprice area, on the European side of Istanbul, with Poyrazkoy, on the Asian side, and is expected to help relieve congestion in the city, which houses over 13 million people.

Astaldi has been steadily building its presence in the Turkish market. Last November, the Italian firm won a €940 million hospital concession in Ankara. Once built, it is set to become Europe’s largest hospital complex. In 2010, the firm bagged another BOT contract, this time for a $6.5 billion, 421-kilometre highway linking Izmir to Istanbul.

Istanbul already counts two suspension bridges, which will be the highlights of an upcoming $4 billion to $5 billion roads privatisation package comprising some 2,000 kilometres of roads. In a recent note, Turkey’s Privatisation Administration pushed back the roads sale till summer, with pre-qualification documents now expected by June 28 and final bids set for August 9.

Initially touted in mid-2008, the tender process was ultimately aborted due to the impact of the global financial crisis, as it was considered too big for cash-strapped European banks and their developer clients to digest comfortably.