Construction of the world’s longest suspension bridge has formally started in Turkey, following the financial close of a design-build-finance-operate contract with a Korean and Turkish-led consortium.

Crossing the Dardanelles, which is the busy waterway into the Black Sea, the bridge will have a main span of 2,023 meters, commemorating the centenary of the foundation of modern Turkey. Adding another historical note, the bridge is called 1915 Çanakkale, marking a major Turkish victory against British and other allied forces during World War I.

The Turkish government awarded the contract in January last year to a consortium comprising South Korea’s Daelim and SK E&C and locally based Limak and Yapi Merkezi. Japan’s Itochu and IHI consortium was the runner-up.

Copenhagen-based COWI A/S is designing the crossing for the successful consortium with side-by-side twin steel box girder decks separated by a space for aerodynamic stability.

Construction of a dry dock for caisson construction started late last year anticipating financial close, but Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, formally launched the project March 18. The project schedule calls for contractual completion in September 2023.

This story was updated April 2 to correct the identity of a consortium member and the contractual completion date.