By Sahin Oktay
KOCAELI (AA) – Turkey's Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality laid the foundation of a metro project in the prominent industrial province on Saturday.
The new metro line worth 5 billion Turkish liras ($885 million) will connect the Gebze Organized Industrial Zone with the Darica coastline.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said the metro project will be equipped with the latest technology.
"The metro cars here will be fully automatic. The smart metro system will be driverless," Yildirim said.
Huseyin Aksoy, the governor of Kocaeli, said that the population of Kocaeli rises at around 50,000 people annually and added: "The metro project will address the increasing traffic load of such an important city."
Ibrahim Karaosmanoglu, the head of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, said the municipality lays the foundation of the biggest investment project in its history.
He also said that about 1.3 million people commute to Kocaeli from Istanbul for working every morning.
Noting that the whole investment cost will be met by the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, Karaosmanoglu added: "The metro will meet the transportation needs of the increasing population of Kocaeli."
The new underground metro project will consist of two tunnels, each of 15.6 kilometers (10 miles), with a diameter of 6.5 meters, while the line will have 12 stations.
The metro project is expected to be put into service in 2022.