New Rail Tunnel is First to Join Two Continents

On the 90th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey, officials realized a vision dreamt by an Ottoman sultan by inaugurating a rail tunnel beneath the Bosporus to connect Asia and Europe. Critics have questioned the tunnel's safety.
October 30, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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On Tuesday, "Officials cut the ribbon on a $4 billion, 8.5-mile rail tunnel that runs almost 200 feet below the Bosporus seabed, part of a broader project called the Marmaray meant to bind Europe and Asia closer together, ease congestion in [Istanbul] and, in more grandiose visions, eventually form part of a trade route between Europe and China," report Ceylan Yeginsu and Alan Cowell.  

Though the project took nine years to complete thanks, in part, to archaeological discoveries, some are questioning if its opening is being rushed to meet the symbolic opening date. “The part that is in service is very limited,” a city planner, Tayfun Kahraman, told Agence France-Presse. “We are wondering why this inauguration is happening so soon.”

"The biggest issues seem to be that the tunnel still lacks an electronic security system and that it could flood," explain Yeginsu and Cowell. "Suleyman Solmaz, a senior figure at the Chamber of Architects and Engineers, said 'it would be murder to open it under these conditions,' and added that an engineer on the project told him he would not dare ride through the tunnel until those issues were addressed."

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Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in The New York Times
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