Bosphorus Bridge II 1988

Bosphorus Bridge II 1988


The Bridge

In the 1980s, Bill Brown oversaw the design and structural engineering of the Second Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.

The first bridge (opened in 1973) was such a success that it was soon apparent a second would be needed. Bill and his colleagues at Freeman Fox set to work on devising a scheme that would be located a few kilometres further to the north. By 1985 Bill had left the firm and the following year became ‘Engineer for Construction’ of the bridge working directly for the Turkish Ministry of Works. He would be based in Istanbul during the 30 months of construction from 1986 to 1988. The construction was a triumph, carried out by a multinational consortium of Turkish, Japanese, British and Italian firms.

Second Bosphorus Bridge

Also known as the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

Key Facts

Eight-lane highway

Suspended structure is an aerodynamic, hollow-box

Constructed in just 30 months


Istanbul, Turkey

Across the Bosphorus Strait

Between Hisarüstü (Europe) and Kavacık (Asia)

Designers / Engineers

Dr William (Bill) Brown

Freeman Fox & Partners

Acer Consultants


Steel suspension bridge

1,090m main span

1,090m total length

Main contractors

Impregilo S.p.A.

Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

Nippon Kokan

STFA Group


Started 1986

Opened 3 July 1988

Completed six months ahead of schedule

Opening ahead of schedule

Bill made a large number of changes to the original designs for the Second Bosphorus Bridge. Side spans were eliminated and the foundations were made easier to construct. The steel for the towers was commissioned from Japan and it arrived by boat in eight pre-welded sections. The completed towers stood at 111 metres high, consisting of two legs and two portal beams. Erected on two hills either side of the strait, a crawler crane had to be employed to lift their component parts into place.

Bill introduced new ideas all the time and sought to reduce construction time further by running several tasks concurrently. Cables were spun at the same time as ongoing substructure work. On 29 May 1988, the Second Bosphorus Bridge was officially declared complete, an astonishing six months ahead of schedule.

The bridge was named the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, after the fifteenth-century Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed the Conqueror.

"The client put the site in the hands of innovative designer William C. Brown, who takes the initiative in proposing ways to speed up work and cut costs."

Bill was presented with an award for his work on the Second Bosphorus Bridge (with the citation above) by Engineering News Record in 1998

Long-span bridges in Turkey