May 28 - Construction on Istanbul's third Bosphorus Bridge North Marmara Highway has been confirmed to begin tomorrow and will demonstrate the "delivery and capacity our country" Istanbul 2020 bid leader Hasan Arat claimed here today.
As the city prepares for their first opportunity to present their bid to the international community here on Thursday (May 30), the timely launch of construction on the city's third bridge can now prove their plans are a "reality", according to Arat.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül will declare the construction work to the 1,875-metre bridge, costing $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion/€3.3 billion), open tomorrow, just a day before the presentation to the SportAccord International Convention, which is being attended by more than 2,000 delegates, along with rivals Madrid and Tokyo.
"This is one of the most important milestones of Turkish history," said Arat.
"We have always said from the beginning that Istanbul's bid has invested a lot in infrastructure and now this isn't about talking anymore.
"This is reality."
The bridge, situated between Garipçe in Sarıyer on the European side and Poyrazköy in Beykoz on the Asian side of the city, will be the first time Turkey has a connection with Asia with both railways and vehicles.
Turkish consortium İçtaşto, who won the bid for the project in May 2012, will be constructing the combined road-rail bridge, carrying four motorway lanes and one railway line in each direction.
Arat, also insisted that the construction of the bridge - to be named "Olympiat" should Turkey win the bid - is also a symbolism of Turkey's rise in economy, something which is a major strength in their bid the fifth time round.
"Turkey is different this time round; we are ready to deliver the Games," said Arat.
"After the IOC Evaluation visit [in March 2013] you can see all over Turkey there is a great team in place.
"To have the Games in two continents is the dream of our region and Istanbul."
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April 2013: Istanbul to name third bridge "Olympiat" should 2020 bid be successful
May 2012: Istanbul 2020 hope third bridge to be built over Bosphorus will help solve traffic problem