ISTANBUL Dec 12 Turkey has won $1.4 billion in finance for a road tunnel between Europe and Asia under the Bosphorus, a deal seen as a blueprint for future infrastructure funding in one of the region's most buoyant economies.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said late on Tuesday it had signed a $150 million loan agreement with Turkey for the project, completing a financing package which also includes the European Investment Bank (EIB), Korea's Eximbank and K-Sure and Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and Mizuho.
"Turkey and Russia have seen the largest PPP (private-public partnership) projects in Europe this year," Thomas Maier, ERBD's managing director for infrastructure, said in a statement.
"As the first major private-public partnership in the road sector with predominantly foreign financing, it will open the way for the financing of Turkey's impressive pipeline of infrastructure projects."
The 5.4 km "Eurasia Tunnel" is due to be completed in 2017 and is meant to relieve chronic traffic congestion in Istanbul, a sprawling city of 13 million people.
Istanbul's two existing road bridges over the Bosphorus, one of the world's major energy shipping routes, are heavily congested and work is also under way on a rail tunnel connecting its European and Asian sides. (Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by Ron Askew)