Turkey on Tuesday (October 29) opens a new tunnel under the Bosphorus connecting Istanbul's European and Asian sides.

The 13.6 km (8.5 mile) tunnel, including a 1.4 km immersed tube tunnel - the deepest of its kind in the world at 56 metres - passes under Turkey's Bosphorus Strait, the busy shipping channel linking the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who on Sunday (October 27) boarded the first train to pass through the tunnel, said the project had been 150 years in the making, and by connecting "London to Beijing", served not only those in Istanbul and Turkey.

The tunnel is part of a larger $5 billion (£3.11bn) "Marmaray" project which also includes an upgrade of existing suburban rail lines to create a 76 km line that according to the government will carry 1.5 million people a day across the city's two sides.

Construction on the tunnel began in 2004 by a Japanese-Turkish consortium, with funding coming from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Marmaray, which has been beset by long delays, is now slated to open to the public on Oct. 29, the anniversary of modern Turkey's founding, making it the first of Istanbul's planned mega projects to be completed.

Presented by Adam Justice

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/517852/20131029/turkey-tunnel-bosphorus-erdogan-istanbul-asia-europe.htm