Turkey has unveiled plans to carry out an estimated $5bn road project, that includes building a third bridge over the Bosphorus Strait, with its own budget after the tender for the development was cancelled last week due to lack of bids.

According to Anatolian news agency, Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said that a tender for the North Marmara Highway project would be issued shortly.

"In a short time a tender will be launched. We plan to use our own resources directly," Yildirim told TV8 channel. "The bridge and a 65 to 70km long highway will be included in the first tender. Then the remaining highways will be put to tender later on."

The contract for the project was cancelled as no companies were able to produce a firm bid, since they were concerned about the international financial crisis making it difficult to arrange funds for such a large project.

The development attracted 18 firms, both international and Turkish, these 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.

Work on the North Marmara Highway project involves the construction of a 414km road, connecting Adapazari on the Asian side of the Marmara region to the Tekirdag district on the European side.

It also involves the building of a third bridge between Europe and Asia, which would reduce journey time at the two current bridges.

Construction was scheduled to be complete in five years and the winning bidder would have operated the project for 20 years after completion.

The government is also looking to start work on the project in this year, although it expects that a single Turkish firm will not be enough to handle the entire project and could require a collaboration with other companies or a foreign firm as a solution partner.

The suspension bridge is intended to be built between Garipce in the European side of the city, and Poyraz in the Asian side on a build-operate-transfer basis. It will link 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 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.