Turkey has cancelled a $5bn tender for the North Marmara Highway project as it failed to receive any bids.

None of the domestic and international companies were able to produce a firm bid, as the firms were concerned about the international financial crisis making it difficult to arrange funds for such a large project. Among the 18 international and Turkish firms qualified to submit bids, the bidders included Japan’s Mitsubishi, Obayashi Corporation and Itochu Corporation, Italy’s Astaldi, Russia’s Moskovsky Metrostroy and NPO Mostovik, Austria’s Stradag and Spain’s FCC Construction.

The North Marmara Highway project involves the construction of a 414 km road, connecting Adapazari on the Asian side of the Marmara region to the Tekirdag district on the European side. It was announced in March 2011 and the Turkish Ministry of Transport had earlier postponed the tender submission date until 10 January from 23 August 2011 at the request of the potential bidders.

The project also involves the construction of a third bridge, which would reduce journey time at the two current bridges. The suspension bridge was planned to be built between Garipce in the European side of the city, and Poyraz in the Asian side on a build-operate-transfer basis. Once complete, the bridge would have linked a highway starting in Kinali, in the western province of Tekirdag, with another from Pasakoy on Istanbul’s Asian side, which will extend to Gebze in Kocaeli and connect to the Izmir highway.

The project was scheduled to be complete in five years and the winning bidder would have operated the project for 20 years after completion. The Transport Ministry, however, revealed plans to go ahead with its plans to build the highway even if the tender is terminated and could divide the project into a few smaller projects and put them up for auction.