The step came a year after Turkey held its first tender for the reconstruction of two historic bridges in its largest city where the 45 kilometers-long Kanal Istanbul, championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is set to be dug.
“We have approved the Kanal Istanbul Project development plans and put them out for public consultation. We will rapidly take steps to enrich our country and sacred city with Kanal Istanbul,” Kurum wrote on Twitter.
The canal will connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south and is estimated to cost 75 billion lira ($9.2 billion).
The government says it will ease shipping traffic on the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s busiest maritime passages, and prevent accidents similar to that this week on the Suez Canal, where work is continuing to refloat a giant container ship blocking the channel.
The canal has drawn criticism from those who say it will wreak environmental havoc and pollute freshwater resources around the city of 15 million people