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New Bridge Linking Türkiye, Greece Planned as Ties Warm

Türkiye and Greece have reached a consensus to build a second bridge on the Maritsa (Meriç) River, which marks much of the border between the two countries, according to a report Monday.

The main bridge spans are planned to be 110-180-110 meters (361-591-361 feet), while the tenders for the Turkish and Greek sides of the project are set out to be put forth separately, the report said.

The announcement for the plans on the second bridge connecting two neighbors and historic rivals comes shortly after last week’s visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Athens where the two countries renewed their will to cooperate in several fields, including energy and tourism.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, who shared details about the new border bridge to be built, said, “It is planned to work according to the short pylon extradosed bridge type with 2×2 lanes on a single deck, while the main bridge spans are planned to be 110-180-110 meters.”

Uraloğlu stated that the existing Ipsala-Kipi Bridge over the Meriç River was built in 1958 and, after inspections, there was no structural problem with the bridge.

However, due to increased heavy vehicle traffic and the concentration of tourists, it was found that the bridge was inadequate.

Recalling that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly build a second road border crossing bridge in the Ipsala-Kipi border crossing area to improve the transportation infrastructure connecting the two countries was inked in Athens on Jan. 22, 2004, Uraloğlu detailed the context of the agreement.

“In this context, on June 10, 2006, an agreement was signed between Türkiye and Greece for the construction of the Ipsala-Kipi Second Border Crossing Bridge,” he said.

“In this agreement, it was decided that Greece would undertake the bridge project. On April 4, 2014, a protocol was signed specifying the location and exact place of the bridge and the border crossing bridge plan based on determining the borderline on the map,” he explained.

“In the meeting held on Feb. 15, 2017, to make evaluations together with the Greek side at the technical level it was decided that the meetings would be in the Joint Planning and Monitoring Project Committee (OPIPK) format,” he said.

Furthermore, the minister mentioned that this committee held various meetings from 2018 until now. “As a result of the meetings, it was collectively accepted that the clear height between the bridge deck and the river surface should be 10 meters. It was also decided to work according to the short pylon extrados bridge type with 2×2 lanes on a single deck; the main bridge spans were planned to be 110-180-110 meters; and the bridge approach spans were projected to be 44 meters,” he noted.

“Additionally, it was decided to tender for the construction of the bridge separately for the Greek side and the Turkish side, and to establish a joint inspection group that will supervise both the Greek side contractor and the Turkish side contractor during the construction,” he added.

Stating that the European E-84 road or D-110 Highway, as a part of the European E-roads network in Türkiye, starts from the Greek border near Ipsala and ends in Silivri, Minister Uraloğlu said, “This line is approximately 180 kilometers with an east-west reference.”

“The project is set to have its start from the Ipsala customs exit and end at the Kipi customs entrance after 1,500 meters,” he informed.

Source : Daily Sabah