Turkey’s Ankara-Gerede highway is one of the largest road projects in history and is part of a highway system that is essential to the Turkish economy.
Bechtel and its partner Enka built two sections of the high-speed Trans-Turkish Motorway. The highway system is critical to Turkey, linking Istanbul, Turkey’s European port, and Ankara, its Asian depot. The Bechtel team provided a full range of services, from financing and project management to construction and the administration of the design and engineering subcontract.
Creating new opportunities
When the Turkish government commissioned the Bechtel-Enka partnership to build two sections of the Trans-Turkish Motorway in 1986, roads were so jammed with cars and oxcarts that produce was perishing in transit, a loss that could be ill afforded by an economy half built on agriculture. The new roadway contributed immeasurably to Turkey’s economic development, permitting the transport of goods to Middle Eastern markets and to the Turkish people.
At peak, the project employed nearly 6,000 Turkish workers—one of Bechtel’s largest direct-hire jobs outside the United States at the time. In some cases, workers who had arrived at the site not knowing how to drive a car left as expert operators of multimillion-dollar, 250-ton hydraulic cranes.
Building the motorway was extremely challenging. In some places, the road reached heights of nearly a mile; altogether more than 196 million cubic yards (some 150 million cubic meters) of earth and rock were excavated.