Planning the widest suspension bridge in the world – the third Bosphorus Bridge, Turkey
Story in 30 seconds: Hailed as a symbol of modern Turkey, the 3rd Bosphorus bridge is the widest suspension bridge in the world. Featuring the highest suspension bridge tower ever seen globally. It is no exaggeration to say that the pioneering scale of its construction alongside its aesthetic and technical features makes this one of the most important bridges in the world.
Cem Erer, Planning and Controlling Director of 3rd Bosporus Bridge and North Marmara Highway Project, ICTAS- LDI Consortium, gives the low down on this most complex of endeavours and explains how project management software Powerproject was used on the project.
A megaproject of this size is enormously demanding to manage, with many key challenges needing to be overcome in delivering the project to a very ambitious technical specification. It required having the right people and resources and a quality planning software. After reviewing options available, the company chose Powerproject as the software to underpin the project.
“We chose Powerproject because it is not only powerful but also very easy to use. We needed to find a way to track planning amongst many stakeholders. It enables us to understand the project’s status in real time, and it is also user friendly for ease of adoption. We have found Powerproject to be a solution that contributed towards the smooth execution of the project.”
Pushing the boundaries
It cannot be stressed enough the level of innovative engineering and advanced technology involved in designing and delivering this vast project. Most of the team behind its design and execution have been Turkish engineers, who have been really pushing the boundaries with their work. In addition to the bridge, there is the scope of the work planned for the North Marmara highway, which is also a massive undertaking. As Erer says,
“This is the first time that we have excavated four lane tunnels in Turkey, and we are dealing with a total excavation area of 236m2 – that means that anticipating a daily excavation rate of 8,500 lorry loads, over a period of one and a half years. The highway will feature no less than 67 viaducts and 693 piers, of which just over half are more than 20 metres high. Even in the field of megaprojects, this is pioneering work that we’re undertaking.”
Such projects are inherently risky due to long lead times, as well as levels of complexity, technology and design which push beyond normal standards. A common risk is that of “uniqueness bias” amongst managers. The decision process typically involves multiple actors and stakeholders who all have their own motivation and that can potentially result in conflicting interests. Erer says:
“Our company embraces change and challenge and has extensive experience of managing megaprojects. We pride ourselves on the responsibility we have for these very important projects that will serve our country’s growth in such a profound way.”
One of the challenges was that with Istanbul’s 3rd Bosphorus project having such a very high profile, people were interested in following the progress and understanding what was happening on a daily basis, Erer adds:
“When you are working on such a visible project that affects so many people you have to be especially diligent, because there is zero tolerance around any mistakes. Ensuring that our planning strategy was right and maintaining meticulous organisation was key to our success, and as a result we focused very heavily on planning for every scenario. We used Powerproject to support us at each stage of the project. The technology ensured that we kept the project plan live and always responded to any updates or changes, so that our estimates remained accurate and there were no surprises.”
Throughout the project the team worked on the aim to “plan the work and work to the plan”. Erer explains that ensuring that plans were updated in real time as the project developed was a key strategy in achieving a successful outcome.
“Of course, an important part of that planning, especially on a project of this scale, was to ensure that we developed realistic estimates and put pre-mitigation and post-mitigation plans at the very early stages so that we were always prepared for what we faced next. Our technology partners really helped us in this area.”
The company naturally take risk very seriously and spent a lot of time conducting risk assessments and workshops with the planning team, considering all of the external factors that might have impacted on the project and measuring possible cost-time-safety impacts. Erer explains,
“Everything starts with good planning, and as an organisation we know from our experience that the right planning and risk assessment really does ensure safety on-site. Powerproject proved extremely helpful due to the ability to run multiple ‘what-if’ scenarios to consider how a wide variety of potential situations could impact the plan, explore possible counter measures and to understand the impact on the plan.”
Collaboration was crucial
With a large number of international partners, designers, subcontractors, and material suppliers in the same project, not to mention the 7,500 people involved on the construction side, collaboration was crucial to achieving goals in a megaproject like this. Defining the right project strategy, implementing successful and transparent planning, and building up healthy communication between project stakeholders were all tactics used to ensure that everyone was working towards the same common goal and with the same understanding. Erer says using the right software helped,
“The reporting capabilities of Powerproject helped us keep everyone involved informed at all stages of the project.”
Training and support
With a project like this it is not just about looking after external stakeholders. The company also invests heavily in people and their skills, particularly on the engineering side, where Erer emphasises the importance of developing skills and knowledge of all staff and ensuring that they have the very best education and training.
Erer summarises how the support he received from the teams behind the software played an important role, “It was vital to have full confidence in our solution provider, FND (Future Network Development), the Elecosoft approved reseller partner in Turkey. FND supported us with a detailed level of knowledge and insight at every stage of the project. This may seem a simple point, but it really was crucial in delivering a megaproject like this successfully – especially given the ground-breaking nature of the engineering, design and technology involved.”
Background to the project
- Cost: Over £1 billion.
- Model: Build-Operate-Transfer.
- Execution Company: IC Içtas – ldi Consortium.
- Time period: 10 years, 2 months, and 20 days.
- Manpower: 7,000 construction and 500 operational staff.
- Concept Design: Michel Virlogeux and T-Engineering.
- Project Management software: Powerproject.
- The widest suspension bridge in the world at 59 metres.
- The longest suspension bridge incorporating a rail system at 1408 metres main span.
- The highest tower of any suspension bridge in the world at 322 metres.
- 8 lanes of motorway and 2 railway lines all on the same level.
The power behind successful projects: book a free demo to experience Powerproject by Elecosoft.