Unofficial sources had been saying that the second tunnel at Göcek would not be opening, for some time. This is due to a contract clause with the builder of the first tunnel, which states that the original contractor can charge for two-way toll for a period of 25 years.
The second tunnel at Göcek was built by the government at a cost of 62 Million Turkish Lira. However a private company built first tunnel, which opened in June 2006, on a built-operate-transfer model, agreed with the Government in 2002.
There had been protest demonstrations over rumours of the new tunnel not being toll-free. It was due to be opened by June 2016 and before the June 7th elections, Ahmet Davutoğlu, the president at the time, had emphasized that the tunnel will be toll-free. However, the tunnel was not opened and there were only excuses.
Arif Çobanoğlu, the district manager of Highways officially accepted the fact that the tunnel would not be opened at the city coordination committee meeting in Muğla at the beginning of the year.
“There was a contract made in 2002. The contract clause for the existing tunnel says the contractor can charge for two way tunnel toll. This is a binding deal. That is why we cannot open the second tunnel” Çobanoğlu said.
The contract is valid for 25 years. However, Çobanoğlu said they are trying to cut this period by seven years, meaning the existing contract would end in 2025. “The contract period will be reduced if capital market boards allow. But, we have nothing to do with the prices, which are told to currently be too high.”
The second tunnel was finally opened in May 2018, however it is not free to use and is the only tunnel in Turkey where a charge is made.