Greece and Turkey have agreed to begin construction of a new bridge linking the two countries in the Evros region. The bridge will improve road safety conditions and ensure the smoother movement of passengers and goods between the two countries.
The construction of the bridge dubbed “Friendship Bridge” is expected to start in 2024 after officials from both countries greenlighted the project during the recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens. It will be the second bridge serving as a link between Greece and Turkey, as one is currently in operation.
On the Greek side, the project was awarded in 2022 to engineering firms Egis and Mavrakis & Partners.
As a gateway between Europe and Asia, the “Friendship Bridge” will be an essential node of the future pan-European “Corridor IV.” The bridge will consist of a main bridge and two landing bridges. On the Greek side, it will be part of the Egnatia – Thessaloniki – Kipi motorway section. In Turkey, it will be connected to the Ipsala – Istanbul section.
The creation of this structure is made possible by the collaboration of the Greek and Turkish governments, provided for in the intergovernmental agreement signed in Istanbul in 2006. Egnatia Odos SA is responsible for the design of the project in cooperation with its Turkish counterparts.
The new bridge will serve as a counterpart to an existing bridge. It will be placed downstream of the latter. Turkish Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu stated that the existing Ipsala-Kipi Bridge over the Meriç River was built in 1958, and, after inspections, there was no structural issues.
However, due to increased heavy vehicle traffic and the concentration of tourists, it was found that the bridge was now inadequate.
New bridge at Evros follows the warming of relations between Greece, Turkey
Greece and Turkey agreed on the implementation of the project as relations between the two countries improved in 2023. It comes after Erdogan visited Athens, where the two countries renewed their will to cooperate in several fields, including energy and tourism.
The Turkish leader and Greek PM Kyriakos Mistotakis signed a friendship declaration between Greece and Turkey in a symbolic move that confirms the warming of relations between the two nations.
Upon his return to Ankara, Erdogan proclaimed he wants to develop cooperation with Greece on nuclear energy.
“We are trying to expand, develop this cooperation not just to energy, but all areas including nuclear energy,” Erdogan said, without elaborating, according to his office. “For example, we may provide an opportunity to Greece from the nuclear power plant we will build in Sinop.” He said Mitsotakis was “warm” to the idea.