Bosphorus Bridge 1973

Bosphorus Bridge 1973

© Tunart

The Bridge

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bill Brown oversaw the design and structural engineering of the Bosphorus Bridge. The design followed that of the breakthrough Severn Bridge and incorporated an aerodynamic box deck and towers with internal fixings for ease of construction and maintenance.

It was constructed in record time, taking 400 workers and 35 engineers just over three years to complete. The bridge opening in 1973 attracted a crowd of over one million.

It became the bridge with the longest main span in Europe (1,074m) and fourth longest in the world.

World's Longest Span Bridges in 1973

Verrazano Narrows Bridge, 1964, USA, 1,298m
Golden Gate Bridge, 1937, USA, 1,280m
Mackinac Bridge, 1957, USA, 1,158m
Bosphorus Bridge, 1973, Turkey, 1,074m


Main Span


Total Length


Bridge Opened

Bosphorus Bridge

Linking Europe and Asia

Key Facts

15 July Martyrs’ Bridge (official name)

Catalyst for the growth of Istanbul

World’s fourth longest bridge at the time


Istanbul, Turkey

Across the Bosphorus Strait

Between Ortaköy (Europe) and Beylerbeyi (Asia)

Designers / Engineers

Dr William (Bill) Brown

Sir Gilbert Roberts

Freeman Fox & Partners


Steel suspension bridge

1,074m main span

1,560m total length

Main contractors

Cleveland Bridge – superstructure

HOCHTIEF AG – piers and anchorages

Enka Construction – approach roads


Opened October 1973

Completed in 3.5 years

400 construction workers

Transforming Istanbul

Bridging the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul would connect Europe and Asia for the first time. It has had an astonishing effect on the city and people of Istanbul, easing transport problems and fostering closer working relationships in the reunited city.

The population has increased from two million in the early 1970s to over 15 million today. The Bosphorus Bridge has been described as the catalyst for the socio-economic development of Istanbul and of Turkey.

© Ugurhan

"A bridge, which is not only a bridge across the Bosphorus linking both parts of Istanbul, not even a bridge between two continents within Turkey, but a bridge to link people and nations as well."

Dr William Brown, 30 October 1973

Bridging the Bosphorus

Duration: 40 minutes

“Centuries of hoping, decades of thinking, years of planning, three short years of construction and there it is the bridge over the Bosphorus.”

This is the concluding narrative for this wonderful historical film of the construction of the Bosphorus Bridge from 1970 to 1973. It shows the engineers and construction workers rising to the challenge and completing first bridge to link Europe with Asia over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.

© Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Ltd.

The Bosphorus bridges linking people and nations

Duration: 53 seconds

“Istanbul is a majestic city and I can think of no better place to build a bridge.”

A quote from Bill Brown’s speech on the opening day of the Bosphorus Bridge, 30th October 1973. The film shows current day drone footage of traffic crossing the bridges over the Bosphorus and engineers carrying out planned inspections.

© 301 Design.

Long-span bridges in Turkey