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Istanbul's controversial third Bosphorus bridge

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Istanbul's controversial third Bosphorus bridge
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The Turkish government has announced who is to build Istanbul’s third bridge over the Bosphorus.

A consortium formed by ICTAS of Turkey and the Italian firm Astaldi has been awarded the contract for the project.

It has been given the go-ahead despite criticism from planners and environmentalists.

The bridge will be the strait’s longest, at nearly 1.3 kilometres. It will connect with a new motorway to run through Istanbul and neighbouring provinces.

Announcing the contract on Tuesday, Turkey’s Transport Minister, Binari Yildirim, said the bridge would be built in three years at an anticipated cost of two billion euros.

It is designed to relieve serious congestion in Istanbul, home to more than 13 million people.

The idea is for lorries to use the bridge instead of clogging up roads elsewhere. But critics say it will simply attract more traffic, and will damage the landscape.

Others may be happy to see investment in a major infrastructure project at a time of economic gloom.